You've just arrived in a foreign country. You are sitting in the lobby of the hotel you'll be staying at. The lobby is empty, and the music system is slightly broken. Every so often it switches radio stations, from instrumental music to a talk show in a language you don't understand. You can tell when there's a commercial, but you have no way of knowing what is being advertised to you. There is a TV mounted on a wall. It's turned on and showing a news channel, but there is no audio. Subtitles scroll by in a foreign script as a well-dressed woman stands and points to a weather map. It seems like it will be sunny tomorrow.

You're shopping late at night, and you are one of the only customers in the store. You are in the sports equipment section near the back corner, and you haven't seen any other people, customer or employee, in a while. What did you come here to buy again? There's a pause in the music as someone speaks over the PA system, but you are too far away from the speaker to hear what's being said.

You're drifting through an art museum. You walk from dimly lit room to dimly lit room, looking at statues under glass cases, protected from everything from dust to camera flashes. Others drift by you. It is almost entirely quiet; there are people having conversations, but they whisper so quietly that you wouldn't be able to eavesdrop even if you wanted to.

These are just a few of the images signalwave music, one of my personal favorite subgeneres of vaporwave, tends to invoke. I've noticed that signal wave music, also called broken transmission, seems to include a spectrum of music between these two concepts:

Firstly there is the work of artists like Infinity Frequencies. These albums invoke the feeling of being in a liminal space, and I would recommend them to anyone who has listened to 'Everywhere at the End of Time.'

The the other end of the signalwave spectrum imitates a broke radio or distant TV signal. These albums are jarring, bouncing between commercials, music, news broadcasts, and any other bit of audio that the artist could pilfer from the internet. It is all but impossible to tell when one song begins and one ends on an album like this, since within each track there will be sudden changes. It is this kind of signalwave that I personally prefer, since it is so different from typical music.

If you want to check out some signal wave music, here are some recommendations. I've sorted them from least to most 'skippy' as much as was possible.

Infinity Frequencies - Exit Simulation

While writing this post, I realized that infinity frequencies' albums aren't actually tagged as signalwave or broken transmission. However, I've heard other people refer to them as signalwave, so I'm going to mention them here anyway. I've linked their most recent album, 'Exit simulation'. If you like liminal spaces, this is what liminal spaces sound like.

t r a s h g h 0 s t - Spectral Lament

I'd say that of all the albums on this list, this will sound the most familiar to fans of vaporwave. Pop music, commercial music, and more are spliced and stretched to create the effect of a very broken radio.

御幸 & TV2 - Dream Signalwave Woman

I wouldn't say that this is what public access television would sound like if you put it in a blender... it's like if you put public access television in a bowl and mixed it slowly. Does that make sense?

商業 TV - Don't Change The Channel!

So I'm biased, this one's my favorite. It's got a good balance of voice clips and music, so that it's very weird without being abrasive.

電話での会話の芸術 - 900 MHz内の世界

While a lot of signalwave (and vaporwave in general) tends to use either English or Japanese samples, this album has a variety of languages, which is pretty cool.

Vivi Vulture - channel flipper

I've put this one last because it is the most abrasive, jumping from voice clip to voice clip in seconds. I wouldn't necessarily say that it is pleasant to listen to, but it certainly is interesting.

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