"One Wayne G" by Mac DeMarco

Mac DeMarco, the indie singer-songwriter, has embarked on a new journey in his music career, pushing the boundaries of music streaming and potentially setting a revolutionary trend for future artists. His latest album, "One Wayne G," is a testament to DeMarco's defiance of conventional music industry norms. It's a content-dump that challenges the idea of what is or isn't the right way to release and ingest music. This album might not be a grand artistic achievement, but it's a significant act of an artist living by his own rules.
"One Wayne G" is an unfathomably long album with 199 tracks and over nine hours of runtime. It's like an indie rock version of Lil B’s 05 Fuck Em, stretching out to a duration that inevitably necessitates background listening. It almost dares you not to pay attention to it, making it feel resistant to conventional music criticism. The proposition of reviewing "One Wayne G" even feels like a throwback to an earlier era of stunt journalism.
On one hand, DeMarco’s instrumental turn, along with the listless shuffle-ability of "One Wayne G," seems like a play for the ambient gold rush, supplying casual listeners with a limitless horizon of vibey busy-work soundtracks. But DeMarco’s compilation thumbs its nose at the very market it taps into. While "One Wayne G" might look like a disposable afterthought, all unfinished drafts and near-identical file names, it’s hardly arbitrary or accidental. Where so much instrumental or ambient music that baits the streaming algorithm is anonymous to the point of feeling machine-generated, Mac’s giant box of loosies confronts you at every turn with the personality of its maker, for better or worse.

Taken in chronological order, "One Wayne G" offers a glimpse into DeMarco’s evolving process from 2018 and January of this year, as we see him adopt and abandon certain whims and trends. Early cuts feature little more than acoustic fingerpicking, but by 2022, he’s picked up a harmonica and started toying with woodwinds. There’s an ever-so-light jazziness to the organ riffs on some tracks that resembles the French exotica you’d hear in a Jacques Tati film; many of Mac’s demos on "One Wayne G" feel more uniquely suited to soundtrack placement than even his previous instrumental work.

Just when you think you’ve forgotten the author, Mac chimes in to remind you what his voice sounds like, whether that’s filling the space with nonsensical riffing that sounds like Simlish, or the few times he actually sings proper words. On songs like "She Want the Sandwich" or the would-be Toyotathon anthem "Proud True Toyota," Mac’s whimsical and occasionally pitch-shifted vocals recall the lo-fi cartoonishness of Ween more than the Japanese composers like Haruomi Hosono or Shigeo Sekitō he normally credits. Unlike the demos he’s released as companions to every studio album, "One Wayne G" is a collection not so much of songs-in-progress but strays and spare parts, which function more like Adult Swim bumpers or public radio interstitial music than rough drafts.

DeMarco's new phase in music, characterized by his experimental and unconventional approach, could be revolutionary for future artists. It encourages artists to create and release music on their own terms, without being constrained by industry norms. This could lead to a more diverse and vibrant music scene, where artists are free to explore and experiment without fear of not fitting into a specific genre or style.

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