Because it so often bases itself on sampling and plunderphonics, the boundaries between vaporwave and other genres are regularly blurry. Fla.mingo’s debut album, Fantasy, is the rare example of a record where the line between vaporwave and another genre—in this case, synth pop—is almost completely annihilated. The New York-based producer seamlessly melds the two to create a powerful ode to lost innocence, youth, and love.
It all starts sweetly, with openers “Fantasy” and “Everything Felt So Right” recalling the sugary bubble-gum optimism of Fla.mingo’s August EP U Melt Me. But the album quickly pivots to wistfulness and stays there, using brooding synths and distant vocal samples on tracks like “浮く” and “Heartache2” to evoke a wounded, broken romanticism.
The keening, high-pitched electronics that end “Die”—as well as the echoing, spaced-out textures of “Depression Dive”—perfectly illustrate this emotion, the far-off vocals pining after some departed love. And while later cuts like the techno-influenced “Aliens” show hope creeping back into the mix, the album’s melancholy depths are finally confirmed when closer “Fantasy II” rolls around, and all that’s left of the Fantasy are ghostly trails of reverb.