In our series Hidden Gems, writers share their favorite Bandcamp discoveries.
Moe Moe, the latest EP from future funk up-and-comer Moe Shop, has all the elements that the vaporwave subgenre was founded on: vibrant anime aesthetics, infectious grooves, and unabashedly commercial pop hooks. With this release, the French-born, Japan-based producer invites the listener into a dazzling musical universe in which disco balls never went out of style.
Generally speaking, future funk injects the listener with a more stable dose of the adrenaline-powering happy hardcore, gabber, and other similarly giddy styles of electronic music, often reliant on samples. Here, Moe Shop hits the listener with six self-produced tracks manufactured in-house, filled with glimmering hardware synths and bouncy beats. From the lead-in of the intro track “Magic” until the final chords of “Fantasy,” the sugary arrangements evolve, but somehow never falter. Crisp and bright synth lines glide by as a syncopated rhythm section rolls on at a groovy 110 BPM. Elsewhere, Moe Shop enlists J-pop/electro artists Monico, MYLK, Puniden, YUC’e, Maisou, and Toriena to add their bubbly vocals and quirky lyrics to the mix; in particular, Puniden steals the show on “Virtual,” with her signature seductive vocal style, which acts as the perfect counter to Moe Shop’s off-the-wall instrumentals showcased with its controlled delievery.
What ultimately sets Moe Moe apart from the hundreds of other future funk releases—including other Neoncity staples like マクロスMACROSS 82-99’s SAILORWAVE series, Night Tempo’s Fantasy, and Yung Bae’s Bae—is the tight, high-quality production. Whereas their peers tend to saturate their tracks in grainy, lo-fi ambient textures in an attempt to evoke faux-nostalgic feelings in the listener, Moe Shop is all too eager to break that mold. No doubt, this is dance music made for the future.