Review: 90's bambino - "GRΔVΣWΔVΣ"

90's bambino - GRΔVΣWΔVΣ
(2014 Self-Released)

I love an album that cleverly disguises itself as a joke, shielding the beauty it contains with a layer of satire. Take GRΔVΣWΔVΣ for example, the newest mixtape by Brazilian rapper/producer 90's bambino. The cover art bears a slimy purple and green color scheme reminiscent of the background of a Scooby Doo title card, while some sort of hooded spirit that seems to be culled straight from the Castlevania NES game floats in the foreground, overturning oil drums filled with industrial waste in its wake. The song titles are definitely inspired by the Vaporwave genre's penchant for greek letters and references to obscure or niche facets of pop culture. The aesthetic of the album's visible, though ultra-rad, might be a tad gimmicky, but as I've stated before in reviews of Jackie Trash and Big Booty Bill and Da Fish, sometimes music coated in a layer of lowercase satire just might be incubating quality songs that actually contain quite a bit of substance.

GRΔVΣWΔVΣ, as the title suggests, finds 90's bambino experimenting with darker sonic textures than those heard on his last two mixtapes. The overall general aesthetic hasn't changed all that dramatically; bambino's signature beats, similar to the smooth, pillowy dream-pop backing tracks Yung Lean is known for rapping over (but perhaps a little more lo-fi), are still present, but this time are tinged with dark, groaning violin-like tones on "DVNGΣON MΔSTΣR" and a bouncy riff that you'd hear at a Renaissance fair on "≈Ω≈☾∆STING SPΣLLS≈Ω≈". Most of the time, the vocals are pitch-shifted so low that they're barely decipherable, adding to the album's sinister aura. My favorite track of the tape is "NΣCROMANCΣR", built around a repetitive hook that swoons with its string of wobbling, trebly synth notes. An added bonus: downloading the album gets you a free remix of one of bambino's tracks by HEARTSREVOLUTION.