Phteven Universe has been around longer than you thought, since around 2009. This is reflected in the self-titled debut by the artist who has managed to do a lot within his short lifespan (creating memes, creating art sites, etc.) and creating this album is included in all of this.
The album is an interesting variation on the classic-style vaporwave of FLORAL SHOPPE, including some interesting plunderphonic work and style changes throughout. The entire feel of this album is smooth, nostalgic and slick… almost as if you were being transported to a time where the old reigned supreme and everything was calm and peaceful; you literally get vice-like beach chills as you’re listening, almost as if he has mastered that sonical tone of INTERNET CLUB, Miami Vice and others before him.
The musician’s talent is undeniable, he creates this sort of lonely isolated feeling within the album while contrasting it with the upbeat moods primarily featured in this album. It’s a dual edge sword of despair and gratitude, one which makes for interesting listens almost every time sometimes making the album good and sometimes making the album feel uncomfortable which is also good. It’s that feeling which makes the album stand out from the pack in 2018 when it comes to classic-style vaporwave; that experimentation, that risk, that feeling of listening to something new and exciting.
It’s also mixed and mastered well as sonically nothing seems out of place. Sure, some of it may seem distorted but they’re done in an “intentional” way, to provide a weird and awkward feeling to the album. Everything on the album screams bliss, like you were discovering what true-to-form vaporwave is like. The low-pitched vocals mixed in with the lo-fi samples is a heaven very few can create and well, the artist has created it.
Whether the artist knows it or not, Phteven Universe has a clear-cut classic on his hands; one that should get more recognition. It’s a time-machine back to a time where everything was okay but not okay at the same time. Where depression and happiness thought it out and it would never stop. Where your dreams were nothing more than mere fantasies… Very few classic-style vaporwave albums can capture the scope and execution that “Phteven Universe” has managed to do so well. And for that, “Phteven Universe” is a classic.