Machinedrum

Vapor City Archives

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AllMusic Review by

Travis Stewart's elaborate Vapor City concept amounted to the album of the same title, the Eyesdontlie, Gunshotta Ave., and Fenris District singles/EPs, a pair of additional EPs issued to members of his Vapor City "citizen program," and an interactive website. Vapor City Archives is the concluding element. The title's third word is a bit misleading. This isn't merely a collection of scraps, but another succinct, deliberately sequenced set -- one that is almost on the level of the parent release. Apart from a retouch of the Vizion Centre EP's "Vizion" and the reappearance of the Vapor Park EP's "Tried and True," the material is new. It's of a familiar makeup: syntheses of so-called bass music, juke, drum'n'bass, and house that have wistful/dispirited allure through jittery rhythms and gauzy melodies, some of which come from spangling space-folk guitar, presumably played by Stewart. The producer likewise incorporates vocals, either mostly or completely sampled, that tend to evoke senses of longing, losing grasp, and persevering. "Only 1 Way 2 Know" and "B Patient," the top highlights, nervously swell and recede in intensity, and ache with a magnetic power similar to that of Vapor City tracks like "Infinite Us" and "Don't 1 2 Lose U." This caps off a run of some of Stewart's finest Machinedrum output and was released only a few months after Jesse Boykins III's brilliant Love Apparatus, most of which he produced.

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