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Limousine – Bizarre Bazaar Album Review

This was written by gbanas92 from Private suite Mag (Now defunct Vaporwave Magazine)
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A mallsoft release is always a particularly special treat for certain people in the vaporwave community (this writer included). There's something endlessly charming and enrapturing about spending some time voyeuristically getting a peek into a bustling mall. The downside to this is that the limits of the genre seem to have more or less been reached, making it especially challenging for a mallsoft album to offer something new and exciting. However, Limousine appears to not have gotten that memo, as their second mallsoft drop on Business Casual proves. Bizarre Bazaar offers a refreshing, and stunningly vibrant glimpse into a mall that is thriving.

The first thing to mention is the album art, a drop-dead gorgeous assemblage of colors from the incredible l u n i t a s ルニタス. In fact, the album features a bevy of collaborators, including Donald McRonald, Σpson, 회사Auto, Corbo, Crystal Court, and FM Skyline. This array of unique voices brought on alongside Limousine helps breathe life into the album in spectacular fashion. The release is able to drift between varying sounds with ease as a result. The baseline mall chatter and ambient noise helps unify everything despite going in wildly different directions from track to track.

Things open rather calmly, with "Centerpiece Carousel" being dedicated largely to retail noise mixed with more traditional muzak, offering a glimpse into a dustier, older type mall. This leads into erm, "Tequila is the Shit," which is an interesting extrapolation of the first track, offering another taste of piano-infused muzak, but with the piano bursting forth and drowning out the background noise. This somber slow opening crescendos into "Victor of Reality" a future funk flavored track that starts to bring a bit more energy into the affair, before leading into one of the album's best tracks, "Spiritually Rich." This track, there's no other way to put it, shreds.

While the first half of the track has an infectious melody in it's own right, the latter half throws subtlety out the window, and winds up a spectacular guitar solo filled to the brim with 80's cheese. The subsequent track, "Fashion Valley" honestly feels like an extension of the first track, accompanying the piano half of "Spiritually Rich" exceedingly well. This all builds to "Rainforest Café Customer Review Hotline," which functions more or less as a cooldown for the album's midpoint. Mall ambience is paired with a drum beat and that's largely the whole track.
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When we return to the mall concourse it feels like a whole new area. If the first chunk of the album was the original building, then starting with "Fountain of Youth," it feels like we've entered a new wing of the shopping center that was built after the rest. The synth tones in this track feel more futuristic, let's call it, and even the reverb feels a little different. Things sound cleaner, newer. This idea extends to the next track as well, "Emerald Flowsion" which features some jazz drums that wouldn't be out of place in a hip-hop song. Maybe this wing was built in the 90's?


The run over to the new wing of the mall seems to have been a brief excursion, as both "Wino Tower" and "Escalator Level 2" bring with that older sound back. Perhaps the escalators are only accessible in the old wing, we may never know. But this sound definitely sounds more vintage again, even including another shift in the acoustics of the reverb, as everything sounds a little murkier and cavernous once more.

The final few tracks prove to offer another shift though, shifting mid-song, as if the transition between new and old happens in media res. Starting with "Just Tryin' to Catch the Sunrise & Sunset Everyday," "Level 40 Pokémaster Entrance Theme," and the timely "Kanye 2020", things return to the vintage once more. "Kanye" in particular is practically a lounge song in some nondescript speakeasy, down to it's walking baseline. All-in-all, exactly what one thinks of when they think of Kanye West.

This is the lead up to the final track, a collaboration with FM Skyline, "Pacific Coast Hwy." It also happens to be the best track on the album, with such an uplifting and unashamedly happy melody that it's a challenge to not spoil. The track is overflowing with such optimism that it gives hope for the future, hope for vaporwave, and maybe even hope for malls.
 
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