Here are the facts: Wisteria is Fountaine’s second album (released on March 9), after Blak $ushi which came out 12 months ago. Fountaine is from NE Portland, and all but one track on his new release were self-produced. The album is light on features, with a few verses from label affiliates like Jon Belz, Miá Charnelle, and an extended downtempo-style interlude featuring Abbi Press.
Here are my wild interpretations: Wisteria is a very personal album, like, messy to the point where I feel like I know Fountaine as a person after repeated listens. The album is a success in terms of serving as a window into the mind of a skateboarding, weed-rolling, Pokemon and Dragonball Z watching, genre-agnostic music devotee, coming out as messy and complex as any advanced artists’ brain should be.
However, this type of highly personal and individualistic composing certainly comes with its caveats. Fountaine is prone to slow starts, from an intro too repetitive to (perhaps?) warrant inclusion, to two-part tracks with the second half noticeably more developed than the first (“Pokemon Blue Moon” starts as a lazy synth-backed skate rap before abruptly turning into a trunk rattler based around a Grizzly Bear sample. “Banana Nut Fuschia” begins as a drowsy-menacing head nod, before the sample comes in and the track becomes the sound of a dance party during a really warbly dream. And so on).
It feels like Wisteria gets stronger as it goes as well, but that could be caused by increased familiarity with Fountaine’s particular type of juxtaposition. His flow is perfect, a distillation of various regional inflections and crowd pleasing rhythms and syllabic textures. To contrast, the production is frequently off-kilter and forward thinking, with tracks like ‘Cowboy’ and the mournful ‘Emerald Green’ eschewing traditional song structures and arrangements. This type of constant shifts in tone, mood, and style are commonplace amongst NW rap albums, especially ones as personal as this, however it can make for difficult mood music. I mean, this is definitely a headphone album more than a speakers one. However, headphones or not, the mind of Fountaine as spilled onto the Wisteria canvas is a fascinating one, worthy of repeat listens.