Light in the Darkness
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Tracks that Light in the Darkness references:
It's been five years since I made my last song for the CaNMT, yet somehow songs of mine from then keep making their way onto new LoFaM albums. Not that I'm complaining, of course. I think this song holds up as some of my best work from those CaNMT days. I always found the CANWAVE side albums the most enjoyable projects to work on, as they gave me convenient excuses to write music in one of my favorite genres: vaporwave. This song in particular was made for CANWAVE 3, the last entry in the series.
At first, the song wasn't quite there. I made an entirely different demo back in August 2017, around when I was getting into the work of t e l e p a t h テレパシー能力者 , a vaporwave artist known for his phaser-laden sound. My idea was to create a telepath-ified version of a fictional smooth jazz cover of Voidlight. I'd write the instrumental myself, loop pieces of it, and drown it in effects. I finished this take of the song, but ultimately I was unhappy with it: it was too repetitive with too little reward, and the production sounded much too amateur. To date, this version has not seen the light of day.
By March 2018, CANWAVE 3 was (finally) almost done with development, and I decided to totally rework the song. I wanted to write an original song in the style of 2814, a duo that telepath was a part of. Instead of traditional sampling, they produced sample-free ambient, downtempo, and techno music along vaporwave's aesthetic lines. It took a surprising amount of time to make a song in this sound. The production was incredibly layered by my standards at the time, and its length, while still shy of 2814's own music, was impressive enough.
In the end, I stayed up until 6 AM the night before release to finish this song, and the result is a piece I'm still proud of five years later. There are some great bits of production here: the booming percussion that sounds like far-away thunder, the multi-layered synth melodies, the rolling snares and their dubby echoes, the detuned choirs and pianos, and the dramatic climax that finally incorporates Voidlight into the melody. I think about revisiting this style on occasion, now that I have five more years of experience under my belt. I won't rule out the possibility!
This track immediately stood out to me, not just as a vaporwave track, but as a reimagining of one of my favorite tracks from the whole Homestuck OST. Voidlight (by Thomas Ferkol) has a special place in my heart, so I wanted to do this track justice. My main goals were to reference the ideas of both tracks, "Voidlight" and "Light in the Darkness", and to also make a piece that was REAL vaporwave. The same friend who helped me with the "Grubheap" lighting is also a huge aesthetic nerd. I like to send things to her just to ask if it's "real y2k" or not. When I asked what represents vaporwave, she said "the 90s". I wanted to challenge myself to find the core of vaporwave, and not reuse the same sunset image everyone associates with vaporwave (which is actually Outrun and not vaporwave but people think that they're the sa-). My main inspirations were Windows 95, the UI of which I painstakingly recreated by hand, the original Voidlight track art by the incredible Zilleniose, and the original Voidlight track commentary from Thomas Ferkol, that explains, "Calliope's void light spiral was a breather from the craziness happening elsewhere in the comic, but there was always the threat of English showing up".