Bowser by Jonwayne is a trippy beat album that might render you drunk. You might become cross eyed. The beats resonate well with that feeling you get when you jump off a sky scrapper. That feeling in your stomach you get around the fifth floor, only you get that feeling in your ears. You don’t have to be a user of electro beats to appreciate this album.
An array of resonating bass driven tracks, layered over quick spastic melodies that fade in and out with subtle moments of lyrical drones, make it seem as though the album is coming in and out of consciousness. Case in point, “Andrew”, a track that borrows stylistically from Tipper’s vocals bends, made me laugh for no apparent reason. It plays with your head and builds anticipation for those subtle changes that make this album worth a full and attentive listen.
The melodies are very game-like; 8-bit runs for better or worse, but in the middle of it all you get a few lyrical treats. “You don’t want to fuck with me,” is gritty soliloquy—a security blanket that the album wraps itself up in. Beyond these moments of word play, the beats demand more lyrical accompaniment. They demand to be fucked with.
Jonwayne plays the emotional field, with moments of dark eulogy-esque tracks that shift in to lighthearted ones. While Bowser is nearly sample-free, it definitely sounds inspired by its 8-bit colleagues. The album is, after all, called Bowser, in homage to the biggest, baddest super boss of the same name.
Between this album and Jonwayne’s appearance on Groundislava’s recent self-titled debut, Alpha Pup Records is paving a yellow brick road toward an electro beat paradise—but you might just call it the Los Angeles underground.