Album Review: 理髪店 Beat 1990​-​1994 by Haircuts for Men

Furio Gerwitz, Volunteer DJ

理髪店 Beat 1990​-​1994, roughly translating to Barber Shop Beat 1990-1994 and released on March 23, is a new project by prolific vaporwave musician Haircuts for Men, henceforth referred to as HFM. If you’re unfamiliar with vaporwave, I’d strongly recommend a search, but broadly the genre could be described as nostalgic, sample-heavy music strongly influenced by the aesthetics of early internet culture and the late 20th century. Entering the scene at its peak popularity in the early 2010s, HFM is one of the few vaporwave artists from that era to have stood the test of time. This is in part due to his consistent stream of output (HFM has released two more projects since I started this review) as well as his plunderphonic-heavy production style. His Bandcamp description, “i take no credit. everything is plundered”, speaks well to this fact. Accordingly, HFM incorporates a much wider palette of instrumentation and stylization than his peers, with his willingness to experiment leading to reliably unique and enthralling listening experiences. 1990-1994 stands among HFM’s more accessible works, sticking to traditional song structures and gathering samples from the 1990s.


Album cover art for 理髪店 Beat 1990​-​1994 by Haircuts for Men


フェザー級(featherweight): A downtempo track, lead by a revolving bassline and intermittent guitar and saxophone lines.

私は10セント硬貨を転がします(I roll a dime): An upbeat track lead by a saxophone sample and an incredibly fast paced, varied drum and bass instrumentation.

ゴルフクラブドラマ(golf club drama): A more traditional vaporwave track, primarily driven by a slowed, sampled guitar sample and a relaxed drum loop.

skinny jeans: A bass heavy track centering around a high pitched saxophone.

シャッター速度(shutter speed): A downtempo track which evolves through its runtime, prominently featuring saxophone and flute samples.

血まみれの鎖(bloody chains): A slower, sparse track featuring a bassy drumbeat, looming piano riff and airy flute.

あなたの口を実行します(run your mouth): A bass heavy, breakbeat track driven by an incessant guitar riff interspersed with a saxophone and piano chords.

欲しいものが手に入らない(I can’t get what I want): A slow and ever changing track which has its core melody shift between different instruments as the track progresses.

廊下での死(death in the corridor): An upbeat, menacing track driven by a dense piano and quick drumbeat.

不在(absence): The album closes on a groovy, downtempo track featuring a sampled guitar riff.

1990-1994 is a solid album. Many of the strengths of HFM hold true for this album, especially in regards to the variety of instrumentation present. Being a tribute to the 1990s, HFM starts from this constraint and pays tribute to many genres from this decade, especially breakbeat, jazz, and drum and bass, through his own recontextualized interpretations. This leads to an album which feels both varied in style and unified by production style, as well as genuinely well crafted tracks. Overall, I’d rate the album 4 out of 5 Spinnaker Sails.

Standout Tracks: 私は10セント硬貨を転がします(I roll a dime), skinny jeans, シャッター速度(shutter speed)

Sources: (album cover, general info)