The world is already flooded with more music than you could get through even if you lived a hundred lifetimes. And much of the world’s disposable music emanates from garbage genres and micro-scenes like electro-swing, crunkcore and whatever genre claims Smashmouth.
But if you thought those were bad, prepare to meet a new frontrunner for the worst music you've ever heard (or hopefully never heard): fashwave.
Fashwave is undercooked, nap-inducing midtempo and downtempo synth music, made by and for mouth-breathers living in their parents’ basements, working off cracked copies of FruityLoops in between posting on 4Chan, and embraced by a handful of tasteless crypto-Nazi Trump supporters.
Fashwave takes its name from fascism (so shouldn’t it be “fascwave”?) and started forming in the primordial goo of YouTube in 2015 with tracks like “Galactic Lebensraum” and “Right Wing Death Squads” by the act Cyber Nazi. Lebensraum — literally, German for "living space" — is a term the Nazis invoked as part of their reason for exterminating Jews in Hitler’s Germany. This song is trying to be electronic Wagner, but it even fails at that, lacking the controversial composer’s musicianship, bravado and decades spent honing his craft.
I won’t link to any of this music because you don’t need to hear it. Google it if you must, but you'd have a better time dropping a concrete block on your foot. Its synth lines and drums are all chintzy John Carpenter rehashes made with free sample packs and zero sense of what a groove is. Though these songs are mostly instrumental, the micro-movement's handles, song titles and imagery are clearly supposed to evoke this ultraviolent, apocalyptic, Fallout 3 vision of the future using Nazi imagery and quotes.
A message board weasel called “weev” told Buzzfeed, “This is celebration music.” But here's something that doesn't add up: If it's celebration music, why does it sound like a boring dirge or something you'd play at a seventh grader's sleepover/gaming tournament?
After the Buzzfeed piece ran, a far-right website ran a response, parts of which were republished by The Guardian:
“The Jew-owned Buzzfeed blog has done an article about how fashwave has become the musical soundtrack of the alt-right. The fact that sites like these are covering this sort of thing reveals how the alt-right and anything associated with it is quickly becoming the trendy counter-culture of this era. There is no question about this. We have become the cool ones rebelling against a tyrannical system. This will become more and more alluring to the younger generation who is coming of age as time moves on. Especially considering we live in societies polluted with political correctness and all sorts of nonsensical bullshit.”
But is this alluring to “the younger generation”? And what actual cool people ever self-describe as “the cool ones”? Does this tyrannical system they're allegedly rebelling against include the bankers and CEOs that Trump has appointed to his cabinet? Will this shitty non-scene develop into a broad musical movement so popular that it is eventually embraced by the music industry and booked at major festivals? Um, no.
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There are several other sad individuals following in Cyber Nazi's footsteps, trying to help usher in a second coming of both Nazism and horrendous subcultures attached to its hip like fashwave. But none of these so-called producers have the musical chops or the ideological vision to make this something that is remotely as interesting or profound as they think it is.
Please don’t go endorse these goblins with a click and a stream. It’s not worth it. Their deranged pathology would take that as another “victory." So why am I even drawing attention to them by writing this? I suppose because ignoring bad people and their ideas isn't a sound or effective approach, especially when it comes to literal Nazis. This is a thing, unfortunately, that exists and we should be aware of it.
Also, there may be ways to push back against fashwave. One very tangible thing you can do if you feel so inclined is to send abuse reports anywhere you find fashwave music, especially SoundCloud and YouTube. It’s not a First Amendment issue; these are private-sector companies free to police their users' content. It’s a a moral issue. That alone won't end it, but it will flush this "music" back down to the lowest-rung shitholes of the internet where no reasonable person would seek it out.
Tell these companies that fashwave’s mere existence on these platforms qualifies as hate speech. Together we can make this shitty little pocket of the internet called fashwave a thing that you never have to think about again.