Last night was a night like many nights that pass in the life of a 21st century bachelor. It was 1 AM, I was barely finished with my 9th cup of coffee, and words on my ASUS laptop were filtering into my brain on autopilot; it was like I was reading without having any full cognizance or attachment to the things seen, but the reading wouldn’t stop until I fell over onto my bed comfortably next to the cat.
I was surfing one of the craziest corners of the Internet, a place where unmoderated discussion still exists in some form, a place called 4chan. Usually these nights grow boring quick and result only in a good laugh or newly discovered obnoxious meme, but I always go back nostalgic for a time when this place yielded icons of my youth like Boxxybabe and Courage Wolf. Matthew 7:7 says “seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” Visiting these corners of the web have often revealed the hippest and dankest of sub cultural art forms. Three years ago, I discovered an artist called Grimes on 4chan’s /mu/ board. Grimes is one of today’s most celebrated and iconic underground pop gurus, but she was once a mere poster waifu for eclectic and socially disassociated music nerds. However, this isn’t a post about Grimes. It is about an eccentric musical movement that found harvest in that strange den of trolls and socially lost souls called 4chan, but it is not nearly as sweet as Grimes.
Last night I discovered fashwave.
Many others have recently stumbled onto this music this past week as well. LA Weekly writer Johnny Coleman wrote of fashwave in an article two days ago, saying “prepare to meet a frontrunner for the worst music you ever heard.” The term has popped up on Buzzfeed and Guardian articles in the last several days, as the strange and controversial style slowly reveals itself to a world now on the brink of a new kind of fascism. The fashwave hipsters are celebrating, and you know why. This new kind of movement is an aesthetic fascism that unites hordes of lost boys desperate for a militant order to stomp out their outrageous fears.
Fashwave is an offshoot of retrowave culture that uses Neo-Nazi themes with cyberpunk and other futuristic motifs.
Retrowave is not supposed to be racist. It wasn’t designed to be rascist. 6-years-ago retrowave culture exploded onto the underground dance circuit. Retrowave is a style of music that utilizes synths and ‘80s aesthetic to create modern dance music. Over the years, it has boomed with several offshoots, like any successful music genre does. Vaporwave, chillwave, and dreamwave may have all passed through your palate of musical preference. Remixes like this ’80s version of Ariana Grande’s “Into You” are uploaded and discovered by thousands every day. Hundreds if not thousands of YouTube channels and bandcamp pages for retrowave artists have been created over the years, popularizing an art form that may not have ever earned a scrap in the pre-Internet age.
Fashwave is the divergence of retrowave’s popularity into circles where nationalism and white pride are becoming the prevailing humdrum. Like the working-class fascists who adopted punk in the ‘70s and ‘80s, synthwave music has become the chosen medium for neo-Nazis of millennial culture.
Cybern∆zi is the appointed ring leader of this fashwave bunch. Who is Cybern∆zi and how did he become so huge? Cybern∆zi is the chosen alias of an artist who released an album called Galactic Lebensraum on April, 20th of 2016, Hitler’s birthday. It features obvious nods to the Wolfenstein games, a series that revolves around killing Nazis in a dystopian future setting. When I say that Wolfenstein offers you a chance to kill Nazis, I mean a whole lot of Nazis. Imagine Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds as a video game you could run on DOSbox, and at the end you fight mechsuit Hitler. However, despite Wolfenstein’s anti-Nazi protagonist, the artist behind Galactic Lebensraum is not at all interested in thwarting cyber Nazis.
I’m not sure Cybern∆zi intended to become a flag bearer for this clan of alt-right fanatics, but he has co-opted this fashwave movement to become their idol of sorts on Twitter. Fan art combining the aesthetics of retrowave and fascism flows through his page, as if Cybern∆zi has openly embraced his role as the incidental nexus through which this alt-right crypto-brigade cultivates and spawns.
It is commonly perceived that music preference is not open to any kind of objectivity. One could say that the talent behind this fashwave movement is bad or good without any kind of detailed or genuine judgement to enforce their point. However, the ideology that festers around fashwave is obviously dangerous.
Kids these days.