Of all the producers who emerged during vaporwave’s early years, few captured my interest like Yyu. Bicoastal label Beer on the Rug, which doesn’t focus on vaporwave but enjoys the distinction of having released some of the genre’s touchstones, put out Yyu’s TimeTimeTime&Time as vaporwave’s bubble grew in 2012. On that album Yyu (the production alias of a nonbinary artist who goes by “B” and uses they/them pronouns) eschews the retro kitsch common to most Bandcamp tracks filed under “vaporwave,” but the loops of stumbling samples and textured blurs of melody nonetheless fit into the emerging style’s vibe. Depending on who you talk to, vaporwave exists in some state of death or rebirth (and some people say it never really died), but anyone trying to find new life in the sound should take cues from B’s drawn-out experimentations.
TimeTimeTime&Time features clips and fragments of B quietly singing and moaning while playing an acoustic guitar, and those sounds are much more in focus on Yyu’s follow-up for Beer on Rug, 2014’s Room Music. B has uploaded a trickle of compilations to Bandcamp in the past few years, including Memos V.1 last month. B, who moved to Chicago from Kansas after dropping TimeTimeTime&Time—Yyu performed at the West Loop kickoff event for experimental-music series Concepts in Noise in October—seems to just decide in the moment what sounds to use based on instinct.
Memos V.1 is ostensibly a collection of demos, and B stirs up twinkles of magic with these rough drafts and sketches. Yyu first released “Drummer,” today’s 12 O’Clock Track, via Soundcloud a few months ago. Its half-audible vocals and delicate acoustic strumming are so quiet they have to compete with the recording’s tape hiss. The song sounds like it could evaporate at any moment, but every note that pokes through the surface noise carries a warm summertime breeze.