The Path To Lost Eden is the height of a certain type of vaporwave. It's made mostly from samples, some recognizable and others snatched from the deepest recesses of YouTube, formed into bleary funk or immersive ambient. The track titles are in Japanese, a hangover from vaporwave's initial obsession with Asian culture and imagery, mostly from Hong Kong and Japan. (Many Dream Catalogue releases, like The Path To Lost Eden, also featured shots from anime or Asian movies in their artwork.) Part of the appeal of The Path To Lost Eden is how it transcended these tropes: the music stands on its own and doesn't succumb so much to the Orientalism of older vaporwave releases, an important step in the move away from cultural appropriation that both the artists and Dream Catalogue would make in the year after its release.
The two tapes complement each other well but take opposite approaches to vaporwave. Nmesh's half—subtitled The Path—is grand and filmic. Telepath's side, Lost Eden, is more typical of the Dream Catalogue releases of the time, which often took scraps of mystery funk and looped them into long, hypnotic pieces. "光る目 (Glowing Eyes)" is a fine example: its bassline and keyboard melodies are lush, though they're degraded by Telepath's lo-fi sheen. Other tracks are hypnotic and reassuring. On the swirling ambient of "心合成 (Heart Synthesis)," faint voices drift in the wind. The 22-minute long "テレパシー能力者 - 表面張力 (Surface Tension)" is an oasis of sustain chords and comforting melodies. It's as close to resolution as The Path To Lost Eden ever gets.
Nmesh's side is mostly ambient, stitched together from field recordings, bits of instrumentation and ASMR-inducing vocals, from the romantic ("I'm kind of in love with you") to the ominous (dialogue from Apocalypse Now is audible throughout). See-sawing between paranoid and pleasant, the Apocalypse Now motif comes out in other ways. "黒い水の上に反射 (Reflection On Black Water)" has a thick, rainforest-canopy atmosphere; the instruments on "心はシダであります (My Heart Is A Fern)" pitch-shift as if melting in jungle humidity. Across The Path, Nmesh shows a special touch with samples, whose edges bleed seamlessly into the music.
Nmesh and Telepath work in tandem on The Path To Lost Eden: the former throws you into uncertainty and the latter lifts you back up. Following the release of The Path To Lost Eden, Dream Catalogue shifted away from sample-based music into other realms. The label has since blazed trails into new subgenres, but The Path To Lost Eden stands tall as a majestic highlight in its catalogue. It's no wonder that even artists like Nmesh and Telepath moved on from typical vaporwave sounds after this: once you perfect something, where do you go next?
Fri / 1 Jun 2018
01. Nmesh - 心痛を受け入れます(I Accept Heartache)
02. Nmesh - アンチ技術のマジェスティックビューティ(Anti-Technical Majestic Beauty)
03. Nmesh - 着物 (Kimono)
04. Nmesh - 気高い真実 (Noble Truth)
05. Nmesh - 黒い水の上に反射 (Reflection On Black Water)
06. Nmesh - 心はシダであります(My Heart Is A Fern)
07. Nmesh - 風に考え (Thinking In The Wind)
08. Nmesh - 体熱 (Body Heat)
09. Nmesh - 地平線に沈む夕日 (Sunset Over The Horizon)
10. Nmesh - 禅の庭を探索 (Explore The Zen Garden)
11. Nmesh - 夕暮れがやってきた (The Sunset Came)
12. Nmesh - 上流フローティング (Upstream Floating)
13. Nmesh - 自然と恵みの方法 (Nature And The Way Of Blessings)
14. Nmesh - たそがれの夢 (Twilight Dream)
15. Nmesh - 心痛を受け入れます (I Accept Heartache) (Zomby Version)
16. t e l e p a t h テレパシ- 能力者 - 時間の波紋 (Ripple Of Time)
17. t e l e p a t h テレパシ - 能力者 - 光る目 (Glowing Eyes)
18. t e l e p a t h テレパシ - 能力者 - 東京の夜 (Night In Tokyo)
19. t e l e p a t h テレパシ - 能力者 - 心合成 (Heart Synthesis)
20. t e l e p a t h テレパシ - 能力者 - 表面張力 (Surface Tension)
21. t e l e p a t h テレパシ - 能力者 - 一緒に苦しんで (Together With Suffering)