American producer Limousine first appeared in 2016 releasing the instantly collectable ‘Wrestling Wave’ cassette. The concept was simple, vocal samples of wrestling promos and match commentary were underpinned by electronic music that was part Vaporwave, part hip-hop part avant garde soundscapes. It worked incredibly well. This was followed by ‘Long Limousines’ and ‘Tokyo Dome’ in 2017. Here the wrestling samples were toned down and a more ‘pure’ Vaporwave aesthetic started to appear. Two more releases followed in 2018 ‘Paypal Playboy’ and ‘Labyrinth 2 Nazareth’. These helped transition Limousine from novelty wrestling curios to full blown electronic maverick. While the initial charm of ‘Wrestling Wave’ and ‘Long Limousines’ was gone, it was replaced with releases that had more emphasis on the music than the concept. Now he has returned with his first new music in over a year ‘Omega Mall X’, his most cohesive album to date.
‘Omega Mall X’ is a concept album revolving around a mall. This isn’t new for Vaporwave, a lot of releases focus on malls, but they either lack the musicality or design skill to be anything more than something a few dozen people will enjoy. What Limousine effectively does is deliver not only catchy music, but music that wouldn’t feel out of place being played in a mall. ‘Zales Basement’ is one of the standout moments on the album. It features a haunting saxophone that is reminiscent of Vangelis on his flawless ‘Blade Runner’ score. As the song progresses, the song skews as you walk through different stores, looking for that bargain, to returns on the original refrain at the same moment you return to the original store to get the first thing you saw. This isn’t just clever song writing; it is, but it shows that Limousine is thinking about a larger narrative than just “Let’s base this thing in a mall”. ‘Starcourt Foodcourt’ has a lazy vibe to it, which is what you’d expect in a foodcourt. The beat keeps everything kicking over and reminds you not to stay too long after you’ve finished eating, as there is still shopping to be done.
The real master stroke on ‘Omega Mall X’ is how Limousine underpins the song with the ambient sound of a mall. Throughout you can hear announcements, people moving through the mall talking and laughing. This helps ground the album to a real place, rather than just the idea of one. We’ve all been to a shopping centre/mall, heard the sounds, smelled the smells and experienced what it feels like to be walking around a place for no other reason then that’s where you go on a Saturday afternoon. There are plenty of other Vaporwave albums that use the Mall as a backdrop for their songs, but none quite grab the feeling of restless excitement like ‘Omega Mall X’.