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Thread: 'Fashwave' and 'Trumpwave': The Alt-Right is Appropriating Electronic Music

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    Arrow 'Fashwave' and 'Trumpwave': The Alt-Right is Appropriating Electronic Music

    Fashwave is genre of instrumental electronic music that has been called "the soundtrack of the Alt-Right". It takes its name from the Synthwave musical movement.

    "As its name suggests, the "genre" involves a combination of fascist ideology with the vintage electronic music of synthwave," reports Buzzfeed. "It's all topped off with a vague melange of 80s aesthetic signifiers, including images of space travel, combat iconography, 8-bit stylings, and lots of neon". [source]

    Last February, Rave News reported that leading vaporwave producers were gathering in Montreal for an emergency summit to discuss "creeping fascism" in the scene.

    On SoundCloud and Bandcamp, self-identified fascist musicians really have appropriated vaporwave, along with synthwave, a genre that nostalgically recapitulates the soundtracks of early video games like Sonic the Hedgehog and 80s movies like Blade Runner.

    Today's fascists have stamped synthwave and vaporwave with a swastika and swirled them together to concoct a new electronic music subculture called fashwave (the "fash" stands for "fascism") - and another related microgenre called Trumpwave.

    If it weren't for the jarring track titles - "Demographic Decline", "Team White," "Death to Traitors," to cite a few by fashwave artist Xurious - you might not be able to tell the difference between fashwave and the microgenres from which it draws inspiration.

    Occasionally, though, a track will interrupt its celestial synth atmospherics or arcade-like 8-bit bloops with a sample of Adolf Hitler ranting at a rally, or President Trump's speeches.

    Fashwave has become propaganda for the neo-fascist movement known as the "alt-right," a term that originated on America's far-right fringe in the early 2010s. Proponents of the loosely configured movement tend to reject "political correctness," trade, immigration, Islam, feminism, the left, "globalism," and establishment conservatism - which are also more or less the targets of Trump and, after his takeover, much of the Republican Party.

    Like fascism through the decades, the alt-right is shot through with contradictions; many of its followers disavow racism, homophobia, and anti-Semitism. But its underlying motive is still that of the fringe from which it sprang: white ethno-nationalism and authoritarianism.

    [...] fashwave—with its sonically inoffensive, largely lyric-free instrumentals—is the first fascist music that is easy enough on the ears to have mainstream appeal.

    [...] the alt-right's gatekeepers have adopted fashwave as the movement's signature sound. Black Sun Radio, an online neo-Nazi station, is saturated with both fashwave and non-fascist synthwave.

    Andrew Anglin, founder of leading neo-Nazi site Daily Stormer, last year christened synthwave the "soundtrack of the alt-right," praising it as "the Whitest music ever [sic]" for its ostensible lack of African rhythmic influence. He posts a recurring feature called "Fashwave Fridays," which includes a synthwave playlist alongside typical synthwave imagery, like 80s women in bright spandex and retro sports cars.

    "The music is the spirit of the childhoods of millennials," Anglin wrote on the Daily Stormer. "Our souls are wrapped up in these sounds."

    Fashwave's visuals, circulated on Twitter and 4chan, are just as essential as its music. Typical vaporwave pop-art—such as Windows 95 logos, Japanese characters, and Greco-Roman statues sprinkled on pastel or neon backgrounds—mingles with Nazi iconography, like Hitler in a Hawaiian shirt. At the same time, the neon-lit cityscapes of synthwave visuals are populated with red-eyed cyborg death squads.

    In an email to THUMP, Cyber Nazi proclaimed fashwave to be the "direct heir" of Futurism, the 1910s avant-garde art movement that hitched itself to Italian fascism.

    The Futurists gloried in technological advances such as trains, automobiles, and electric light, as well as the violence of heavy industry and war.

    Similarly, "We have the internet and computers," Cyber Nazi wrote. Viewed a certain way, fashwave does reflect a kind of present-day Futurist project: a global cybernetic subculture geared towards millennials, propagated by memes like Pepe the Frog, and centered on sites like 4chan and the new Twitter alternative, Gab.

    In synthwave and vaporwave—genres born, like the alt-right, largely on the internet—the movement has found a natural fit.

    Meanwhile, fashwave fans have cast aside punk, folk, and metal—music traditions with long histories of being appropriated as vehicles for far-right ideology—as relics. "It's impossible to build anything with [those] old and expired genres," Cyber Nazi told THUMP.

    The development of vaporwave ran parallel to that of synthwave, which emerged in the mid-2000s, rebooting the synthy 80s film scores by composers like John Carpenter, Vangelis, and Tangerine Dream.

    Within the past two years, the semi-ironic nostalgia of synthwave and vaporwave has outgrown its subcultural roots and seeped into the mainstream - A process exemplified by MTV's use of vaporwave in branding, and the popularity of the soundtrack to hit Neflix series Stranger Things, by Austin synthwave group S U R V I V E.

    At the same time, fascists have flipped this retromania around, collapsing the ironic distance into a vortex of nostalgia for the worst elements of the Reagan era.

    According to Spencer, the alt-right's fascination with the 80s stems from looking back on the decade "as halcyon days, as the last days of white America." Fashwave, then, directly links pop culture's generalized 80s nostalgia to the alt-right's racist ideology. The "one connecting factor" of white nationalism, an alt-rightist declared on Twitter, is "a belief in the supremacy of the 1980s. This is the goal."

    Read full article here

    C Y B E R N ∆ Z I - Right Wing Death Squads

    "By connecting an easily digestible message to the soundtrack of our youth," she said, "the alt-right seeks to subvert our critical thinking and directly appeal to our emotional selves."

    Today, arguably, the 80s are back, but with a few modifications. The Reagan rictus smile has slumped into a scowl, and the Shining City on a Hill is to be ringed by a great wall. At the center of it all is Trump, a living time-capsule of 80s capitalist excess and garishness, and thus the ideal subject for fashwave.

    In "Trumpwave," a track by the synthwave artist iamMANOLIS is annexed to play over footage of a younger Trump wrestling at WWE, hitting on women, and eating stuffed-crust for a Pizza Hut commercial.

    Below the video, a YouTube commenter wrote: "When you see all these older videos it all makes sense. It's not that Trump is weird and we're going towards some parody of a society, it's that we already live in a parody. Trump is bringing back the sanity of the good old days."

    "Trumpwave" is an exemplar of the genre by the same name. [...]In Trumpwave, he is recast as the modern-day inheritor of the mythologized 80s, a decade that is taken to stand for racial purity and unleashed capitalism.

    "Ivanka Vaporwave," a production by an alt-right YouTube channel, slows down the Cosmat Angels' 1985 "I'm Falling" over old clips of Trump's daughter Ivanka modeling as a young teenager. Cyber Nazi's "Take Back Our Future" rolls light muzak over stock footage of early 90s New York on a sunny day and Trump awkwardly dancing on Saturday Night Live.

    When synthwave artists exhumed 80s movies like Blade Runner, Robocop, and Terminator, they also dressed the music in the decade's fatalist retrofuturism. A glance at the album art of Cyber Nazi—with its jackbooted cyborg cops going door to door—shows how for fascists, this dystopia is utopia. Extrapolating from the 80s, fashwave embraces that decade's grim sci-fi forecasts as paradise.
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    The 80s were the decade that style forgot. Probably the nostalgia is more to do with their age. Old men have rose tinted spectacles about the 60s or whatever. For some people it will be the awful 80s, decade of greed, women who power dress, and garbage pop.

    Besides what is meant by White America? The 80s saw Black culture eenter the White mainstream, not just things like Blaxploitation anymore. It was the rise of hip hop and rap till by 1990 rap was primarily the soindtrack of white ten year olds. Rose tinted spectacles for white racists.

    Thinking the 80s were somehow a White decade is like people who think the 50s were all that different from the 60s.

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