One Wayne G by Mac DeMarco album review by Otis Cohan Moan for Northern Transmissions


One Wayne G

Mac DeMarco

Don’t look at its length and do not judge a book by its thickness – One Wayne G can really surprise you and and show off those sides of Mac DeMarco’s style that you would never have guessed they exist.

Yes, I listened to all 8 and half hours. Yes, I did it consciously. And no, I’m not crazy. Wouldn`t you agree to such a deal? Come on, it is Mac DeMarco – the laid back prince of indie rock himself! Who else, if not him, would release an almost 9- hour album with 199 demos, that he had accumulated for 5 years, on a random release Friday without any beforehand announcement? Can your own idol or just any of your favorite artists do this? That’s right – being a fan of Mac DeMarco is very beneficial, because in addition to the standard regular material, a full-fledged lo-fi beats playlist can fall on your head, which you can shuffle in the background during your routine or which may inspire you to write your own material. But this is too superficial look at this thing. If you will delve into it and try to analyze it, you will understand that in fact One Wayne G is fraught with much more than just evanescent sketches and unfinished pieces that sadly did not make it to be released as a parts of official studio albums.

Although Mac himself said in an interview about one of the tracks that it is “garbage, but fun to make” (later this demo was unofficially called Garbage Funk and released here as 20190724), One Wayne G does not feel like a pompous collection of B-sides or the most typical content for an anniversary reissue of any album, but like a huge portrait of Mac DeMarco himself and his creative personality. Each of these demos can not only surprisingly exist separately from the compilation and, with further work with it, became a complete song – all of them are very diverse in terms of genres. More precisely, together they sound like the huge radius of what Mac DeMarco can reach and produce. Starting from bossa nova, chanson, folk and bedroom pop, along with familiar genres like indie rock and jangle pop, the album gets right up to more experimental styles, such as ambient. Yes, it has two slow and viscous ambient tracks for 22 and 15 minutes, and you wouldn’t expect anything like that from Mac DeMarco, would you? Together, One Wayne G becomes an image of Mac DeMarco’s kind of internal laboratory of the production of these tracks with various directions and moods, which he seems to be able to write even 10 per day. And as you listen further and further in complete ignorance of what Mac will do next, you want to understand more and more about the processes of this laboratory, asking yourself – how is he doing it?

Since the album, judging by the titles of the tracks, was filled with material for as long as 5 years and due to its very slow pace of narration (if there is some), at some point the experience of listening to One Wayne G turns into a kind of reading Mac DeMarco’s diary, capturing the change in his style to a more minimalistic and modest one and, at some point, his life in general. Its mood changes with the seasons, when demos, recorded in winter, become colder and more melancholy, and late spring or summer recordings sparkle with sunlight. Also sometimes you can track the absence of records by months, when Mac had either a tour or a creative block, and then he starts recording them again with a new state of mind and with a new set of instruments. For example, at the very end, in demos dated autumn-winter 2022, Mac found a kazoo somewhere and therefore recorded several tracks with it. Stagnations like this do happen here from time to time and they can get really boring, but when the Mac reboots and updates the whole process with a new style and will to explore it in the next demos, it brings variety and new chapters to the album very nicely. And although such a release does not have much creative value and cannot be enjoyed as much as it usually happens with studio albums, One Wayne G is still a really great gift for fans and an interesting thing for ordinary listeners as well. After all, approximately from such randomly recorded fleeting ideas that came to the artist’s head absolutely by chance – as a result, “Chamber of Reflection“, “Ode to Viceroy” and “My Kind of Woman” grow. And to see, how musicians come up with new riffs that could potentially become their magnum opuses – isn’t that interesting?

Order One Wayne G by Mac DeMarco HERE


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