VaVa - Virtual

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Although VaVa’s EP “Virtual” is mostly made up of songs that have been out in some form or another for a little while now, they finally get a proper digital release through Summit. Taken together, these tracks cover familiar themes among young people in Tokyo today, exploring feelings of confusion, isolation, disconnect and nostalgia. Here “Virtual” refers not only to digital worlds such as our internet lives and games, but also our carefully crafted realities and fake feelings.

On “Call,” VaVa asks us to drop the airs, stop being obsessed with our image, and in a similar vein on “93’ Syndrome,” he points out the perfect images we try to present to one another (usually online) always have a hidden side or dirty truth. Reinforced by the accompanying music video, there’s this strong sense that people are currently stuck in the wrong kind of thinking or situation, especially here in Tokyo where life is so busy and complex. VaVa mixes digital sounds and organic samples, and the style changes from one track to the next, which further blurs the lines between what is real and what is not.

現実Feelin’ on my mind” features Social Experiment style horns and chiptune lines that could serve as a triumphant Hip Tanaka score for an 8-bit adventure hero, but the feeling is bittersweet. As a fellow old-school gamer, I can totally relate to VaVa’s wish to be in the game where we can take on the bad guys and solve challenges that are beyond us in reality, but we’re all aware that even if you see parallels between your life story and games, it’s not the same. Although “Loneliness” brings a funky Robotaki/HONNE dance groove, through the lyrics VaVa expresses his frustration over being unable to understand the object of his affection, asking “why do you hate me,” and after drowning in convenience store beer descends into hopeless dubstep IDGAF anymore. It’s kind of messed up and I’m pretty sure we’ve all been there before, getting shut down when we simply want to connect. He even implores you directly to “look at me” on “Sa-Ga,” hoping for his story to be heard and understood before he is consigned to history.

“Virtual” sums up much of the problem – we’re looking for virtual/digital solutions to real world issues, either because we think real life can’t be solved, or because that’s what we’re being sold by Google/Facebook etc. We may be connected with each other but only digitally, sustaining ourselves with virtual relationships and experiences, unsure what is real. At least one thing that is certain is VaVa’s talent as producer and artist. And given the state of the world today, he’s got a lot to say even in just these five songs.

Track List
1. Call
2. 現実 Feelin' on my mind
3. 93' Syndrome
4. Sa-Ga
5. Loneliness

Royce Leong