Either Ryan DeRobertis has something in his eye, or he’s constantly winking. As the vaporwave champion behind Saint Pepsi, DeRobertis churns out new material like a one-man assembly line of choked-samples and corporate-logo glitches. His game-changing 2013 album, Hit Vibes, was his sixth full-length release of that year. Since then, there’ve been a handful of one-off tracks and singles, some of which ended up on this EP. But dusty, Gin City is not.
If Gin City picks up where Hit Vibes left off, then the residue those albums create is the feeling that Saint Pepsi isn’t done having fun yet. The EP is only five tracks long, yet it plays like a rapid chugging-race of DeRobertis’s sonic resume: bold, oddball samples, ticking chiptune and contemporary music-scape flair from footwork and funk. The album’s first single, Mr. Wonderful, head-butts Aretha Franklin’s Wonderful with the Rainbow Road theme from Super Mario Kart 64. It’s gleefully weird, and then DeRobertis flips the switch and goes sample-free, relying on his own buoyant guitar solo in Disappearing.
The title track, featuring newbie beat duo Taøers, opens with a sample of Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get It On, and that’s only after the goof line, “It’s Saint Pepsi, bitch.” It’s a nice way to start an EP that’s aware of its own tongue-in-cheekness, a back-to-back mash of internet snark-talk and a timeless tune. Walking Talking is a new feel for DeRobertis, with gasping footwork lilting lazily against original percussion clanks. Baby, despite its cutesy beat niblets, is almost haunting with its foggy K-pop sample and twittering cymbal-slaps.
The fact that Gin City closes out with Mr. Wonderful—that final Aretha yelp and a Mario Kart car sputtering out—is further proof that DeRobertis has more euphoric, Tumblr-chic sample parties up his sleeve. And next time, they might be even weirder, or maybe they’ll be dripping with normcore guitar solos. The only problem is, we’re going to have to wait to find out. Probably not for long though.