The 3.5 "revolution: details of a small diskette boom with wavepave music

Original author: Christopher R. Weingarten
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Why do labels with the aroma of nostalgia revive a long-abandoned format

Sterling Campbell participated in the founding of the label, published on audio cassettes, and the label, published on video tapes VHS in Ottawa; and then he wanted something more unusual — after he moved back to Cornwall, Ontario, to be closer to his daughter.

“I thought: I need to stir up something like this here,” he says. “What could be the wildest thing I could do right now?”

The answer was the label Strudelsoft, which 36-year-old Sterling advertises as the first edition of the Wayporwa music , released exclusively on 3.5-diskettes. ”

Vague genre, popularized by the Internet, has long flourished on nostalgic media. The sounds of WayPorwa music, often obtained by slowing down and / or overlaying echo effects on existing songs, run a thin line between the sentimental and the sinister. This genre is perfect for audio cassettes, these beloved by many remnants of more hissing times. Today, a small boom created by the hands of patient and creative label owners is reborn on even more exotic media: artifacts of the 80s and 90s, which were once used to install Windows, test calls to AOL and games to Doom.

“Floppy disks are cheaper than audio cassettes, they don’t have to be long and tedious to copy, they look attractive, come in many colors and in various cool designs that people like,” says 40-year-old Matthew Isom, who works at vaiporave platforml Power Label, noting that floppy disks are much cheaper than cassettes for shipping to other countries.

This format, of course, has less convenient aspects, but diskette fans have figured out how to live within their limitations. “I played with the settings, and found that the diskette can be released for about 11 minutes and 38 seconds of audio in 8-bit MP3 format,” said Campbell, who released six albums on diskettes through Strudelsoft. “The first was the musician Cat System Corp, working in the style of vaporavev, and I made a circulation of about 20 floppy disks. And he fucking sold out in 8 seconds. ”

Campbell ordered the first batch of floppy disks on eBay. When this method proved to be too expensive, he turned to the help of the employees of the production company where he worked in the IT department. He then posted a post on the Canadian Kajiji website [ most likely, the author had in mind Kijiji - a message board like Avito / approx. trans.], where he wrote that he was ready to take floppies from people on his own. He estimates that there are already 400-500 floppy disks in his basement now.

“They can find a lot of interesting things, such as shots from I Dream of Jeannie or Gilligan's Island [ TV series of the 60s / approx. trans. ] He says. - Family photos of people and all that. On one, I generally caught a trojan, hotguy.exe. Well, that did not click. "

Vlad Matthew, 29, from Constanta in Romania, owns Sea of ​​Clouds, and works in his own country on the Okazii online market. “I meet people who have thousands of floppy disks in their houses and they sell them very cheaply,” he said. - I met with different dark personalities in the alleys, and scored a whole bag. The biggest problem for me were those discs that were recorded and rewritten so many times that they no longer worked. Sometimes I have to write an album five or six times on five different floppy disks until I find a working disk. ”

Despite - or because of - the forgotten format, these publications on diskettes from music labels are sometimes sold very briskly.

“I made a new release one evening, and when I woke up in the morning, he was all sold out,” says Isom from Power Lunch about Eggo Jams by Sponge Person album, which was released in several editions on audio tapes and then on 20 copies of diskettes "Wafer yellow". “People love this album. This is a joint work of several musicians working in the Wayporve genre, and it seems to be released anonymously - but, probably, it is much more successful than any of the albums, on which these musicians worked separately. ”

“The point is that at the vporscene, people adore physical carriers,” says Campbell. - On Facebook there is a group Vaporwave Cassette Club, laying out a collection of audio cassettes worth thousands of dollars. Madness. And it seems to me that many of them do not even lose all this canoe. They just put it on the shelf. ”

The first burst of music albums coming out on floppy disks happened in the mid-90s, when they were sometimes packed together with a CD as a bonus - as was the case with the albums of the Emergency Broadcast Network or the Billy Idol album Cyberpunk .

Series Music Screeners from Sony boasted disk 3.5 "with video clips and screen savers artists such as Cyndi Lauper , Michael Jackson and of The of The . At the beginning of the XXI century there were only a floppy disk in European electronic jungle and in the repertoire of the different experimental groups.

In 2010, This format can sometimes be seen in fairly large names. Pioneers of 80s audio cassettes, for example, New Blockaders , GX Jupitter-Larsen and Maurizio Bianchi, have released albums on diskettes in the last ten years, like experimental labels like the Floppy Kick from Hungary. Album Miami Vice " Culture Island"released on floppy disks in 2012 is often called the first floppy disk floppy -“ and, apparently, his pipets are hard to get, ”Campbell says.

Even a retro jazz-funk band like BadBadNotGood joined the general fun, when their label recorded a track that was not included in the album “Up” in the 40 bit / s MP3 quality 100 discs before the release of their 2016 album “IV.

” “We secretly scattered them around the world - in coffee shops, boutiques, stores records, and then took a photo of a floppy disk, marked the location, and some lucky fan became ivalsya with a pleasant surprise - says co-founder of the label Innovative Leisure Jamie Strong "And now they are sold online for $ 40- $ 50 Maybe we should take another approach.?".

In addition to the obvious factor of nostalgia, floppy disks are ideally suited to vayporave, music, the quality of which is at the lower limit even before it is compressed to cram into such a small space. “There is 1.44 MB of data on one floppy disk. Therefore, I managed to get maximum three songs there, - says Matthew from Sea of ​​Clouds. “They were stunned, but they could be listened to.” I listened to one of them from a floppy disk, and there is nothing to complain about. That sounds pretty good. "

But diskette fans argue that the utilitarian aspect is important here. “It’s cheaper to get involved in floppy disks than tapes,” says Isom. - Cassettes no longer produce, so prices for used prices are rising. They are less and less, they do not always work. It scares. And the drive? $ 10-15 - and go. Practically everyone can afford it. "

And what is the result? “It takes a lot of time,” says Campbell about the process of collecting, clamping and sending out the Strudelsoft catalog. “Sometimes I think about whether it is worth it. But then - damn it, of course it is - I have a damn label published on floppy disks! “

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