You might have heard about Thomas Park and his ridiculously prolific project Mystified, which operates on and experiments with such genres as dark ambient, noise, drone, and industrial. Mister Vapor is an almost equally prolific parallel project of the same man, and it focuses on less dark and softer soundscapes with more melodic, ambient-esque and/or hazy results. This is the second release I've heard from this project, the previous one being the Astral-EP.
The album is, in a way, an urban soundtrack. The softened sounds from a metro tunnel and other cold, even harsh and emotionless sounds are layered and teamed with the occasional sound of dripping water, chirping birds and such softer, more organic glimpses here and there, thus creating an image of city-life without sounding too cold or lifeless; moreso on the contrary, the release sounds occasionally even surprisingly warm and welcoming. The soundscape is not mechanical, despite the sound sources. One could even see this release as a slightly romanticizating one, despite the presence of coldness.
The release's most bold moments are on the shorter tracks (1, 2, 4), all of them lasting for four minutes at their longest. Tracks one and four even include some slight electro-synths in them. The longer tracks, however, are not as interesting. Metrodrone, clocking 18 minutes, is (I guess) based on some metro tunnel-recordings. The track consists of some quite harsh metro tunnel-sounds that have been echoed and softened to make them un-aggressive, with a slight and almost unnoticed touch from some more atmospheric synths that fit in well to bring in some spice. The track's nature just pretty much damages it, as it occasionally seems like there's nothing going on in the tunnel. Luckily, there's some clangs, birds chirping and whatever you can expect going on for most of the time to break the "silence", turning the track into a pleasant experience for the most of it. More would've been needed.
The last track, almost 22 minutes long, is not as lucky in being saved. Thin and ethereal synth-like sound mat is teamed again with some echoed and softened harsh sounds in the distance, with some fitting beat-likes and other small and mostly cold and ethereal sounds spicing up the whole. The track is just too slow-paced to be interesting, it seems to go on and go on, without offering much new. The track also has dripping water to be heard through it's lenght, but it seems to lack a purpose - it just is there, dripping onwards. This track would've needed something more in order to either make the coldness more vivid, or to warm things up occasionally. Now the song leaves a lukevarm taste to the listener's mouth, it could've been a lot better.
Visually the release is nothing but dull. The space ambient-esque cover image is reused in the back, and because the covers are one-sided (and there's no booklet or anything) this is all the visuals you'll get. There's no info or story about the release included, and not even a track list which I had to fetch from the label's website. This is just lazy, unfitting and very disappointing. As I mentioned in the review of Crepuscular's album from the same label, the bare covers show in the cheap price. Still, even the price cannot justify the covers in this case.
The release's appeal is based on the atmosphere. The cold tunnels and lifeless buildings team up with the more natural sounds to bring alive city landscape, and this manages to sound really personal and appealing for a lot of the time. It just would've needed some more content to hold it's appeal music-wise, too - now the songs, especially the last one, are too bare here and there to maintain the listener's interest. Maybe using the electro-elements more boldly would've done the trick?