10 March 2013
Saint Pepsi - "Studio 54"
In the current internet era of smooth jazz, funk and lounge music samplers filled with weird 80's cover images known as Vaporwave, I think some artists are helping define what the genre can become in the future. One of those leading artists is definitely Saint Pepsi. With his new album Studio 54, the New England musician really shows how Vaporwave could be far more interesting by actually filtering samples and songs with live instrumentation and looping. It provides a much thicker realm of sounds and fun, and it's definitely not an album that just anyone could've made. Having released 5 albums in just a 1 month period, and then being gone for over a month making this album, you can definitely tell Saint Pepsi's work paid off.
The album starts off with a very nice and ambient intro. It feels pretty heavenly amongst all the synth strings. Then, we jump right into a part with "CHALLENGER", a very well made song sampling a pretty awesome disco piece. I like how the samples feel particularly well handled on this track, constantly feeling glitched out with some sampling effects. It's pretty intricate, and it's easily my favorite track on the album. "tell me" has this awesome kick drum that just sorta breaks whatever the actual song is playing in half so it can be heard. The actual song is filled with vocal effects and samples, tons of various synthesizers (some of which sound amazing), and a very thumpin' bass. I love the vintage vinyl crackles on "closer", and the great electric piano synthesizers Saint Pepsi adds in. "Hotline" has this really awesome warped synth playing in it, plus a ton of random vocal samples flying all over the place. The whole thing is just plain awesome. "Eden" is a sweet little ambient piece with a sample that sounds like it came straight out of an 80's TV commercial. "Honey" is just a straight up banger. From the heavy hitting drums, great sample effects, dreamy vocals, and killer bass and synth sounds, it makes some of the most memorable sounds on this LP. "Love Takeover" has some nice chop-chop vocal samples. "Hip To Be Square" sounds like it could be a pretty awesome hip hop beat for any NYC rapper around right now. "Koopa Air" has this great far out Japanese vocal sample. The whole thing reminds me of a WAY more 80's inspired version of the songs on the My Neighbor Totoro soundtrack made by Azumi Inoue. "Friends" is a great chilled out track with some great vocal samples. "Again" is an incredibly ambient sample of a guitar solo in what sounds like an age old film soundtrack.
On Studio 54, Saint Pepsi brings a much more interesting and well done approach to fun jazz sampling. In my opinion, this album breathes some much needed breath into what some would consider a dead genre by providing a better approach to Vaporwave with live sampling, better recording quality, and well done production. This style that this album goes in definitely could lead to recognition of vaporwave as an actual genre. Saint Pepsi proves him talent as a producer, and I will be anxiously awaiting to see his next release.