Thursday, June 4, 2015

Cassette Review: prettyboy aloe "i can see da beauty"

[$6 //]

It is worth noting that when I received this cassette it was not rewound to either side so I had to try my luck- I had a 50/50 shot- and see how it went.   I thought for some reason that the side which has "aloe" written on it might be Side B, since it is the second half of the artist name, but alas, using the digital files on Bandcamp for reference I was able to figure out that the side which says "aloe" on it is indeed Side A.

"i can see da beauty" begins with whirrs.  There is manipulated singing which is somewhere between Elton John and Sammy Davis Jr. as it has that piano feel, but then it gets screwed (as in the manipulation causes it to slow down and sound rather different.  I never liked that word to describe this because it has such double meaning, you know, you're left wondering if the music itself or the cassette gets screwed in the sense of a bad dub or if it's just the lower pitched vocals.  Ugh.  Let's make some new terms please, hip hop friends)   Through bliss-filled R&B beats come some slower beats and I begin to hear Phil Collins' "One More Night".   The vocals get screwed again and then there is a manipulated audio clip where the guy is talking about how "moist" doesn't mean soaking wet.

Two notes here:  First off, I feel like I compare a lot of music with that of Phil Collins because growing up, in my youngest years, I lived in a two family house with my mom, dad and sisters but the bottom floor was my grandmother (dad's mom) and uncle (dad's brother) and I remember listening to my Uncle's Phil Collins cassettes a lot, especially Genesis.    Also, this audio clip of the word "moist" reminds me a lot of the initial episodes of "Dead Like Me" and if you've seen it, you'll understand but if you haven't then let's just move on.

These audio clips are actually rather amusing.  Sometimes I feel like people put in these audio clips of things that they want to use as sort of protest songs, you know, like, "This clip from this movie is going to be my war cry!" because they think that recycling something Tom Hanks was once paid to say is going to make a difference or whatever.   But these audio clips from prettyboy aloe are all just entertaining rather than trying to tackle the serious issues and I do appreciate that about them and so long as you like honey berries I think that you will as well.

With more beats, more screwed vocals and then quieter guitar notes and strums Side A is brought to an end with another audio clip.   Side B begins with the saxophone riff from George Michael's "Careless Whisper" and that is actually how I identified which was Side A and Side B back in the beginning.    Once someone begins rapping some lyrics, they get sped up to beyond the place of being Alvin and the Chipmunks.    Through R&B bliss again, groovy guitar notes and slides I can only conclude that this is vaporwave and, yes, it does remind me of something I might hear on Illuminated Paths and that's usually one of my credentials for something being vaporwave or not.

Borderline hip hop, beats for days and manipulation so as to not take yourself too seriously and this is what in the grand scheme of things has its own genre and subgenre names, sure, but I just like to think of it as good.   It's one thing to listen to someone in an audio clip saying something and think about how it fits within the overall piece, but to then hear them either slowed down or sped up just makes it that much better to me.    I feel like I haven't heard anything other than strictly serious audio clips before, but just the entire presentation of this cassette is solid and don't mistake the fact that it doesn't seem to be standing on a soapbox for a lack of passion or talent.

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