On new album What I Actually Do, chillwave/future funk mastermind Liquid Pegasus infuses his spacey, boogie-laden take on the Minneapolis sound with a more pronounced Japanese influence than we heard on last year’s Tendency, his collaboration with Estate.
Look at it another way: The album sounds like what would happen if Dev Hynes (Blood Orange) and a chillwave backing band had a two-year residency in the poorly lit lounge of a major Tokyo hotel frequented by glamorous expat swingers, Microsoft executives from 1988, and classic Nintendo video game characters repurposed as real people.
The album’s nine songs are a hot bed of twangy, slappy bass, slick, tight drums, sexy guitar licks and shiny, bendy synthesizers. Regardless of how you listen to this thing — on headphones walking around the city, a nighttime drive in an air-conditioned car, or maybe while seducing your intended while one of you wears a polyester suit – you’d have to be completely disassociated to not fall lockstep into the groove.
“Same Old Boogie” is the track that most speaks to the hypothetical pairing of Blood Orange and some boogie-obsessed chillwavers. The busy, clean guitar riffage, kinetic bass, and driving drum groove offer up some assertiveness to counter the laid-back sexiness of the various electric piano foundations, Prince monosynth leads, and shiny pad sweeps. All that’s missing is Hynes’ vocals and you’d have his most successful pairing since his stuff with Solange, or maybe Samantha Urbani.
Liquid Pegasus gets his most loungey and hammy on “Tokyo Hustler.” The cut’s pitch-shifted synth-vox and Shibuya-kei-style piano noodlings bury the otherwise more overt earnestness that carries throughout the record. Pegasus uses mostly real instruments on the album — he says on his SoundCloud page that he doesn’t use samples, although I suspect he means that for everything but synthesizers. However, if he did take the sample route, this song would sound like Boogie Idol got his groove back.
On “U Can Tell,” Pegasus maintains the chill, lounge-laden sound of What I Actually Do and reinforces that pairing with synthesizer flourishes familiar to anyone with a record produced by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. What stands out for me is the minimalist but strong disco beat and the interplay of the instruments that make up the complex arrangement. It’s one of the songs, if not the song, on the album that seems to holistically represent the collection’s themes.
Overall, Josh Lundquist, the man behind Pegasus, has crafted an excellent album with intricate and memorable arrangements that draw as much from his time in Japan as they do from the sounds of his native Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The digital album is available now on Bandcamp, and the vinyl version will be out this summer on City Baby Records.