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Webcore (or Old Web) is an aesthetic expresses nostalgia for Internet culture of the early 1990s to early 2010s (spanning from roughly the release of the World Wide Web up until Flat Design and smartphones were popularized, so around ~2015). Webcore draws inspiration from the Memphis Lite, Y2K Futurism, and Frutiger Aero eras, partially overlapping with Vaporwave. Subgenres of Webcore include 2010s Internet, Digital Oddity, and Old Meme.

Webcore utilizes retro web/tech design elements (i.e. screencaps, GIFs, clip-art, video games) combined with aspects of poetry and self-expression. Webcore's philosophical heart yearns for the days of uninhibited individualism of the old Web, before the internet became streamlined and social media monopolized how people communicated, and web graphic design developed a stricter set of rules for the "dos" and "don'ts" for the sake of accessibility and marketing.

Media[]

Many Webcore screencaps and GIFs come from archived GeoCities websites made by amateur coders and animators. The limited nature of the internet contributed to old Web graphics being a bit rough around the edges. Harsh website design choices, clunky animations, and pixel art are all defining traits of the Webcore aesthetic.

Another main visual aesthetic that this category follows is the rounded blue edge windows that old software on Windows XP achieved, the sharp looking windows that appeared on software from Windows 95/98, or the glassy backgrounds that Windows Vista is much known for (in terms of looks).

This may also include early 3D examples from Windows' screensavers or commercial, ads for any of Microsoft's product or even software that characterized the old Windows operating systems.

With the popularity of the webcore series ENA by Peruvian animator Joel G., webcore/internetcore could also apply to digital, polygon-like surrealism and worlds, thanks to the series.

Music[]

Webcore, musically, relates itself audibly to Vaporwave, since usually the people who follow this aesthetic are in major part responsible for the Vaporwave movement.

There's a genre that people who follow this aesthetic have created: Mockup bootup/shutdown screens.

Webcore music can also be music that first gained popularity in the golden days of YouTube.

Perhaps the kickstarter to most of music associated with Webcore online came in the form of the online animated digital-surrealism series ENA by Peruvian animator Joel G., whose music featured in the series is a mix of instrumental electronic, IDM, and techno-like sounds, with many banding songs similar to the sound, whether it be other ambient or IDM or general instrumental artists or even video game soundtracks that are instrumental akin to those in internetcore.

However, a common and almost mislabeling part of the music is the usage of other songs that should not be considered webcore in it of itself. Music heard and used and made for series or games considered Webcore are instrumental pieces with regular rhythms, percussions (drums) and additional synths and bass (e.g. Graham Kartna and Oliver Buckland, two of the more popular webcore artists), ambient-like sounds (e.g. Mort Garson, Lee Rosevere, Fennesz), techno-like (e.g. METAROOM, Yesterdayneverhappened, or Nanoray), IDM-like or even Footwork/Juke-like sounds alongisde Drum and Bass and Jungle (should they be instrumental, e.g. DJ Orange Julius, Pizza Hotline, Sawteeth), but other "non-webcore" songs are usually those heard in most playlists on YouTube and Spotify contain songs that have lyrics in them, contradicting the music-like sound and element of the Webcore aesthetic, almost as if it defeats the purpose.

Songs by artists such as JPEGMafia, Death Grips, Sewerslvt (partially), Drive45, 100 gecs, Kero Kero Bonito, Digigurl, or Temporex, and even the recently popular 1983 song "Possibly in Michigan Cannibal Animal" from the short film "Possibly in Michigan" directed by Cecelia Condit are usually heard in Weirdcore-like playlists and or are mislabeled by the general song when it comes to actual Webcore music (even the official webcore Spotify playlist has this issue), or are simply indie pop music of varying sounds that don't actually have anything in common with Webcore music.

Webcore music can also include video game soundtrack songs, such as those from Chrono Trigger (1995), Ico (2001), Minecraft (2009), Hylics 2 (2020) and Robot 64 from Roblox (2017) amongst others, and newer video game soundtracks, such as the Hypnospace Outlaw soundtrack composed by Jay Tholen (2019, most notably Volume 2 of the soundtrack, and excluding songs with vocals featured), and also the SCP songs by Belgian musician Glenn Leroi, based on the game SCP: Containment Breach, the video game adaptation of the collaborative horror series The SCP Foundation, particularly the instrumentals of the SCP songs. The soundtracks of the famous webcomic Homestuck by Andrew Hussie, who Toby Fox and other musicians have composed on, have the soundtrack labelled as webcore. IDM artists like Aphex Twin, Boards of Canada, Autechre and Casino Versus Japan have songs that have a webcore-like sound to them.

Several "classic" songs, most notably classic ambient, early electronica, and even new age music could even be considered Webcore music, with albums like Plantasia by Mort Garson (1976), Keyboard Fantasies by Beverly-Glenn Copeland (1986, excluding the songs with vocals featured), L'Univers De La Mer by Dominique Guiot (1978) and New Age of Earth by Ashra (1979), and even including early synth-pop pioneers such as Yellow Magic Orchestra (whose song "Simoon" was covered in the credits of Temptation Stairway from ENA) and Kraftwerk. Other modern ambient and general instrumental electronic musicians like Carbon Based Lifeforms and Four Tet also have webcore-like sounds.

Another note is that there are some musicians who have specific songs whom stand out from the rest of their discography, notably jazz for example, with songs like "Textures" by Herbie Hancock, and both "Don't Let the World Pass You By" and "Computer Incantations for World Peace" by Jean-Luc Ponty.

Some vaporwave songs could be considered Webcore in a way, such as songs from One Hundred Mornings by Windows 96 (2018) or even select songs by English-American collaborative duo 2814 and musician and producer Haircuts for Men.

There are several artists who have instrumental pieces of their lyrical songs online but not available on official music apps like Spotify. An example can be the famous online rapper Viper, whose instrumentals of songs like "They Wanna See Me Dead 'Cause of My Hops" or "Stuck on Grind to Shine" are available online, but not on official music apps, but the instrumental themselves, while being in an obvious DYI hip-hop sound, have various amateur static sounds in them, making them webcore in the process.

However, do note that some artists whose songs are webcore in sound can also be fitting in weirdcore amongst other aesthetics, whoever they should be instrumental if possible.

The best examples of playlists online are those of YouTuber Chickpea, and their four main Internetcore playlists based around the ENAWave side of Internetcore, with all songs being true to the sound of internetcore, with no pop sounds, no vocals, no VOCALOID songs, and no Weirdcore-like sound.

Music Artists[]

The following lists are examples of webcore musicians and artists (including those whose music sounds similar but not all) alongside others in their genre-sounds alongside old and new musicians or bands.

Normal Webcore/Internetcore (mix of video game-like sounds and ambient)[]

  • Graham Kartna
  • Oliver Buckland
  • Louie Zhong
  • Cyriak Harris (AKA "cyriak")
  • Oneohtrix Point Never
  • koronba
  • Scott Gilmore
  • Fearofdark
  • Glenn Leroi (Instrumental versions of his songs)
  • 2003 Toyota Corolla
  • Pilotredsun
  • Marion Gilliam
  • Ninja Coyote
  • Tertiaplox (formerly Tessienoko)
  • Slagsmalsklubben

Vaporwave-like[]

  • Windows96
  • Vektroid (Macintosh Plus)
  • Oneohtrix Point Never (Chuck Person's Eccojams Vol. 1)
  • 2814
  • Haircuts for Men
  • Blank Banshee
  • FM Skyline
  • Eyeliner
  • Infinity Frequencies
  • James Ferraro

Techno-like, house-like or rave-like[]

  • METAROOM
  • Drexciya
  • Nanoray
  • Yesterdayneverhappened
  • Naked Flames
  • Lone
  • Actress

Juke-like, Drum and Bass, Jungle or Footwork-like[]

  • DJ Orange Julius
  • Machine Girl
  • Colloboh
  • bye2
  • DJ Bobby Light
  • Pizza Hotline
  • Sawteeth

Early Electronica/Synth-Pop/Ambient-like[]

  • Kraftwerk
  • Yellow Magic Orchestra
  • Mort Garson
  • Jean-Jacques Perrey
  • Vangelis
  • Tangerine Dream
  • Manuel Göttsching (Ashra)
  • Brian Eno
  • Lee Rosevere
  • Carbon Based Lifeforms
  • Fennesz
  • Dominique Guiot
  • Beverly Glenn-Copeland
  • Epic Mountain
  • Four Tet
  • Galen Tipton
  • Fire-Toolz
  • Cybotron (Australian band)

IDM-like[]

  • Autechre
  • Boards of Canada
  • Venetian Snares
  • Aphex Twin
  • Luke Vibert
  • Squarepusher
  • Casino Versus Japan
  • The Black Dog
  • µ-Ziq
  • Mike & Rich
  • glass remnant
  • The Field
  • Sevish

Rock-like, jazz-like and miscellaneous musicians (with select songs akin to Internetcore)[]

  • The KPM 1000 Series, with albums like "Electrosonic" (1969)
  • Jean-Luc Ponty - Don't Let the World Pass You (1978), Computer Incantations for World Peace (1983)
  • Herbie Hancock - Textures (1980)
  • A Silver Mt. Zion - 13 Angels Standing 'Round Guard your Bed (2000), also used in Weirdcore playlists.
  • The Cinematic Orchestra - Oregon and Burn Out (to some extent) (2002)
  • Sweet Trip - Velocity : Design : Comfort (2003)
  • Viper the Rapper (instrumental versions of his songs)

Soundtracks and Composers[]

Video game, movies and webcomic soundtracks and their composers (select songs should be instrumental):

Video Games[]

  • Earthbound (Mother 2) (1994/1995), composed by Keiichi Suzuki and Hirokazu Tanaka
  • Eastern Mind: The Lost Souls of Tong Nou (1994), Roly-Polys no Nanakorobi Yaoki (1997), and LSD: Dream Emulator (1998), composed (and created) by Osamu Sato
  • Chrono Trigger (1995), composed by Yasonuri Mitsuda
  • LEGO Island (1997), composed by Lorin Nelson amongst others
  • Ape Escape series (1999, 2002 and 2005), composed by Soichi Terada and Koji Hayama
  • Ico (2001), composed by Michiru Oshima
  • Silent Hill 2 (2001), composed by Akira Yamaoka
  • SimCity 4 (2003), composed by Jerry Martin
  • Yume Nikki (2004), composed by Kikiyama
  • Run (2008), composed by Player03
  • Minecraft (2009), composed by C418 and Lena Raine amongst others
  • Undertale (2015) and Deltarune (2018-TBA), composed by Toby Fox
  • OneShot (2016), composed by Nightmargin
  • Celeste (2018), composed by Lena Raine
  • Hypnospace Outlaw (2019), composed by Jay Tholen
  • Hylics 2 (2020), composed by Mason Lindroth & Chuck Salamone
  • The Binding of Isaac and The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth (2011 and 2014 respectively), composed by Danny Baranowsky and Mudeth respectively
  • OMORI (2020), composed by Calum Bowen (bo en), Jami Lynne and Pedro Silva
  • Doll Eye (2020), composed by multiple people from DREAMSTEED
  • Milk Inside a Bag of Milk Inside a Bag of Milk (2020) & Milk Outside a Bag of Milk Outside a Bag of Milk (2021), composed by Nikita Kryukov
  • Tohu (2021), composed by Christopher Larken
  • Entity: Computer Fever Dream (2021/2022), composed by Pablo Heckman
  • Neon White (2022), composed by Machine Girl
  • ENA: Dream BBQ (upcoming), composed by multiple people

Webcomics[]

  • Homestuck (2009-2016) by Andrew Hussie, music for the comic composed by Toby Fox, Clark Powell, Michael Guy Bowman, amongst others

Film[]

  • La Planete Sauvage (Fantastic Planet) (1973) directed by Rene Laloux, composed by Alain Goraguer
  • Uncut Gems (2019) directed by Josh and Benny Safdie, composed by Daniel Lopatin (Oneohtrix Point Never)

For a better example per song, the Spotify playlist Internetscapes by Big Gorilla Bird has the most usage of songs and genre, the important factor. Around 300 + songs, it does not include any form of weirdcore or any other genre that is mislabeled in the playlist. The first 30 songs are an example of what SHOULD be in a webcore/internetcore playlist, for an idea as to what the genre/aesthetic should sound like.

  • First 30 Tracks of Internetscapes
  • "Plantasia" by Mort Garson
  • "Everything You Do is a Balloon" by Boards of Canada
  • "Browser History" by Graham Kartna
  • "Poppy Seed (Boards of Canada Remix)" by Slag Boom Van Loon
  • "Tides" by Home
  • "Secret of the Forest" by Yasunori Mitsuda (from the Crono Trigger OST)
  • "Glass Chime" by Inoyama-Land
  • "Kaleidoskull" by Lemon Demon
  • "Sunrain" by Ashra
  • "Polyrytmi" by Carbon Based Lifeforms
  • "tetractys" by Oliver Buckland
  • "Tower of Destruction" by Haircuts for Men
  • "Depression Shop" by Mudeth (from the Binding of Isaac: Antibirth OST)
  • "Caligula" by Windows 96
  • "Corridors of Time" by Yasunori Mitsuda (from the Chrono Trigger OST)
  • "恢复 (Restore)" by 2814
  • "Music to Soothe the Savage Snake Plant" by Mort Garson
  • "Morning Call" by Claude Larson
  • "heal" by Michiru Oshima (from the Ico OST)
  • "Nzuku" by Arp
  • "Slow Dance" by Beverly Glenn-Copeland
  • "Rain Jacket & Shorts" by Otto
  • "Gleam" by Sevish
  • "Julie and Candy" by Boards of Canada
  • "0330" by Koronba
  • "Swingin' Spathiphyllums" by Mort Garson
  • "The Wizard Waits" by DJ Rozwell
  • "Key" by C418 (from the Minecraft OST)
  • "Follow Him, for He Is the One" by Desert Sands Feel Warm at Night
  • "Venturing into the Pyramid" by Oliver Buckland (from the Temptation Stairway OST)

Hobbies & Activities[]

Some potential activities and hobbies of the Webcore aesthetics include going to old webpages and using old avatar chat programs (like the infamous Worlds.com; an old chatting program that is largely abandoned these days save for a dedicated group of people who act like a Satanic cult to mess with newcomers who come in). This page details a list of old platform “revivals” you can restore functionality with. For those REALLY adventurous individuals in Webcore, there's always traveling the Dark Web, but be careful where you go on the Dark Web lest you stumble upon some potentially illegal content (though, to dispel the myths, no, not every website on the deep web is a hub for illegal pornography, hiring hitmen, and buying drugs, there are plenty of innocent sites on the Deep Web). Even with this note aside, please take caution while exploring the Dark Web. Do not click any suspicious links and use an antivirus software.

Another popular activity within the Webcore aesthetic is playing games that were popular at the time the Old Web aesthetics were prominence (such as The Sims™).

It is also somewhat popular to browse archives of Flash games and animations, such as the one hosted on the Internet Archive (in-browser), or Bluemaxima's Flashpoint (application; requires download).

Many action cartoons in the 2000s were enamored by technology, and some had a focus on the internet or had fictional depictions of a cyberspace dimension. Some Western action cartoons made after that period, such as Steven Universe and Young Justice, also took inspiration from this era for their worldbuilding, even if the internet was not a major theme in them.

Chinese science fiction and science fantasy media tends to take inspiration from older science fiction from the region. Xianxia and cultivation novels became popular on the internet in the 2000s in China. There was a spirit of optimism in that period about social networking and China's enormous technological growth,[1] and its influence can be found in future Chinese science fantasy, such as Dragon Talisman, which integrates Japanese isekai tropes about leveling systems and has characters that use systems to create multiversal social networks.

Media[]

Webfiction[]

  • Homestar Runner (webseries) (1999-present)
  • Grandmist Duology (was written in the 2000s and featured infotech from a not-so-serious science fantasy prediction of China's future)
  • Orion's Arm (fictional sci-fi encyclopedia and universe) (2000-present)
  • Arfenhouse (webseries) (2002-2006)
  • Bonus Stage (webseries) (2003-2006)
  • SCP Foundation (2007-present) (Parawatch logs and style of older SCP files)
  • Endzone (2008)
  • Law of Talos (2008)
  • Ergenverse (the first installment was written in 2009 and wasn't science fantasy, although A World Worth Protecting was. The internet was different enough in China in 2009, both from the Western internet and how it is now over a decade later, for this to count.)
  • Homestuck (webcomic/mixed media project) (2009-2016) (inspired by late 2000s/early 2010s Internet aesthetics, used things such as PDAs, CDs, and AOL Instant Messenger-esque chat clients as parts of the plot)
  • hiimmarymary (2016-2020) (A webseries about a girl named Mary who is trapped in a version of her home where monstrous creatures attempt to torment and kill her come nightfall.) Consists of a Youtube page, a Twitter account, and a Blogspot.
  • Petscop (2017-2019) (A webseries focused on a game a man named Paul finds.)
  • ENA (webseries) (2020-present)
  • Chezzkids Archive (video) (2022)
  • township.mp4 (video) (2022)
  • Bugbo (webseries) (2022-present)
  • Lacey's Games (webseries)
  • The Amazing Digital Circus (webseries) (2023-present)
  • 8-Bitch Fyre (web animation)

Anime[]

  • Serial Experiments Lain (1998)
  • Digimon Adventure (1999-2000)
  • Platonic Chain (2002-2003)
  • MegaMan NT Warrior (2002-2006)
  • Welcome to the N.H.K. (2006)
  • Lucky Star (2007)
  • TECHNOLYZE (2003)

Television[]

  • Code Lyoko (2003-2007)
  • Nothing, Forever (2022-present)
  • Pixcodelics (2005-2006)
  • ReBoot (1994-2002)
  • Zoog Disney (1998-2002)
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003-2008, final season)
  • The Amazing World of Gumball (2011-2019, some episodes)
  • The URL with Phred Show (2001-2002)

Video Games[]

  • Spelunx and the Cave of Mr. Seudo (1991)
  • LEGO Island (1997)
  • Neopets (1999-present)
  • Mega Man Battle Network (2001)
  • My Scene (2003)
  • Run (2011-2014)
  • Emily is Away (2015)
  • Undertale (2015) (spiritual successor to Homestuck, deliberately similar to Flash games and old webcomics like MSPA, and has a social network called Undernet inspired by Pesterchum from Homestuck, which was inspired by AOL)
  • Deltarune
  • Survive the Internet from The Jackbox Party Pack 4 (2017)
  • Kingsway (2017)
  • Baldi's Basics in Education and Learning (2018)
  • Secret Little Haven (2018)
  • Subserial Network (2018)
  • Hypnospace Outlaw (2019)
  • Mackerelmedia Fish (2020)
  • Doll Eye (2020)
  • Entity: Computer Fever Dream (2021/2023)
  • Needy Girl Overdose/Needy Streamer Overload (2022)
  • Endacopia (2022)
  • Neon White (2022)
  • Cruelty Squad (2021)
  • Home Safety Hotline (2023)
  • Dave's Fun Algebra Class Remastered (2023)
  • ENA: Dream BBQ (upcoming)
  • KinitoPET (2024)
Examples of The Sims OST
Example of a remixed piece of the OST

Film[]

  • TRON series (franchise) (1982-present)
  • Johnny Mnemonic (1995)
  • The Matrix series (franchise) (1999-2021)
  • Searching (2018)

Literature[]

  • Xeelee Sequence
  • Burning Chrome (mainly Johnny Mnemonic)

Videos[]

Resources[]

External links to help get a better understanding of this aesthetic.

Sites[]

Playlists[]

References[]

  1. Song, Han (2013). "Chinese Science Fiction: A Response to Modernization". Science Fiction Studies. 40 (1): 16.

Gallery[]

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