Layers Wave Edition comes supercharged with the nostalgic, funk-induced sounds of Vaporwave – In this brief tutorial we will show you how to make the most of these kitsch and classic 80s inspired presets to create the much loved sound of Vaporwave in Reason.
This is what we’re making today:
Step 1. Create an harmonic bed
Central to the Vaporwave sound is a dense textural bed created from either the down-sampling effect of the original music, tape noise or aliasing of audio recordings. Layers Wave Edition has a trusty folder of Texture presets ideal for dense harmonic to build you instrumental on top of.
I’ve selected the patch ‘Inside A Rainbow’ which modulates gracefully over 9 bars adding so intriguing background noise.
Notice the heavy use of Flanger across all three four layers, heavy effects processing especially with era specific processing such as Chorus, Flanger and Phasers taken to the extreme are a hallmark of the vaporwave sound.
Step 2. Lockdown a funky bassline
Don’t be afraid to get extra funky on this one, as with a lot of 80s electronic music that Vaporwave samples, we want to incorporate a generous amount of vibrato.
For this sound I’ve chosen the Ultimate Peaks Bass patch which at its core uses a DX-7 style sound that couldn’t be more recognisable when it comes to Retro, Synth or Vaporwave inspired music.
Vaporwave is notorious for its abuse of distortion, tape-generated or otherwise, so I’ve gone full throttle on the fuzz distortion layer to really give it a crunchy character.
Step 3. Deep pads are a must
Synthetic bell sounds are a hallmark of the period and we’ve chosen the huge bell pad as the harmonic bass in the track. A repeating chord figure in C-minor is traditional Vaporwave territory – again don’t be afraid to go to town with the flanging and distortion here as it brings out the right character of the pads.
Step 4. Build a syncopated Rhythm.
The Sequencer & Arpeggio presets are ideal for driving syncopated rhythms, a definitive drive of Vaporwave rhythmic structure.
The trig sequencer pattern of DataMiner pushes the rhythm along, compliments the bass and harmony without overriding the general feel of the track.
Step 6. Go full cheese with your melodies
I’ve combined the talents of Titanium Piano, Chiptune MW and Gigawave to add trills, lead melody and synthetic texture to the topline here. Three different timbral bases and MIDI programming using velocity variation works really well here to add depth and movement to your melody – cheesy or not!