It’s character selection time. You’ve spent the past few months saving up for this exact moment. It’s going to be glorious. You rush home from the shop, rip off the cellophane and whip the disk into the console. You’re ready to go. All you need to do now is create your avatar. The thing is, you’re distracted. That stupid bleepy muzak is completely ruining your vibe.
This is where Vritra fits in. With Sonar, his fifth solo record, the Los Angeles-based rapper (best known for his work with Odd Future) has dropped 15 tracks of soft-focused elevator rap that would vastly improve any videogame from the golden age.
On the J Dilla-meets-Doom of ‘What’s That’, sunshine beats are placed expertly into the back of the mix while sloping bars trip along behind. The track effortlessly crawls into the subconsciousness. It’s easy listening, if easy listening was half-decent and not just stuffed with faux-deep whispering and middle-class acoustics.
The album carries on in much the same vein until ‘Perpetual’ takes things into the dark hours. Slaloming synths and slo-mo drum machines take the learner deeper into the chill. From this point on the record settles into the groove nicely. Each track passes by at pace, never outstaying its welcome. In a world of excess, listening to an artist who is able to execute simplicity to perfection is refreshing.
It may have taken a while, but it feels like Vritra has finally managed to find his niche. It’ll be interesting to see where he goes after this, but right now there’s a much more important matter at hand. Mute that videogame, crank up Sonar and get that avatar created.
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