Victor Internet

Blue 2000

Victor Internet's Blue 2000 is rife with winning riffs, but it's the sublety of texture and engaging lyricism that makes it, finds Zara Hedderman

There are two kinds of people in the world: those fluent in online culture and those who can just about embellish text messages with emojis. Victor Manuel-Cervantes, the Mexican-American producer and vocalist known as Victor Internet falls into the former bracket. While this is strongly alluded to in both their artistic moniker, song titles formed in internet vernacular and lyrics like, “Too much time, on my phone / Need to know, where’s my phone?”; there remains an overriding appreciation for human engagement and the importance of stepping away from screens. That desire for tangible experiences is what personifies BLUE 2000, the eighteen minute-long EP that follows their 2019 introduction, Victor’s Debut.

In an interview from last year, Manuel-Cervantes acknowledged the inherent duality of cultivating cyber-based relations, “The internet is a scary place, but it’s also a place where I’m able to inspire people, guide people, and be a source of love and good music. I can relate to people of all backgrounds on the internet; I don’t know how I’d make those connections without being online all the time.” Certainly, forging and subsequently investing in online friendships was something many people did across lockdown to fill the void of benign conversations with strangers in the pub or supermarket. But coming out of a time where everything we did was dependent on the internet (socialising, work, shopping, entertainment), it certainly feels like Victor Internet has seen the value of human connection and observed the smoke and mirrors people can project online with this latest offering.

BLUE 2000 was written throughout quarantine and was thus inspired by “the hopelessness and numbness that comes when things fall apart”. We hear the need for, and importance of, face-to-face engagement on ‘Feel Myself’ (“I’m with my friends tonight / They make me feel myself again”) or ‘Goodbye’ (“It’s not easy when the winter is near / And the warmth of my friends seems far away”). There’s a consistent character and voice maintained across the EP which, in terms of the lyrical content, is where the work excels. While the lo-fi production style employed throughout is easy on the ear, it can feel slightly stilted, therefore lessening its impact.

Sonically, the application of Victor Internet’s influences can be so heavy-handed that they distract from any artistic ingenuity of their own. It’s not that the influences are not palatable, quite the opposite, in fact. Internet embeds some of the finer qualities of Jai Paul, Frank Ocean, and Alex G into these arrangements. Ocean is present on ‘Forever’s intentionally lethargic percussion and bass interplay, which draws from Channel Orange’s ‘Super Rich Kids’. There are, however, other components to that track that do well to bring forth Internet’s personality through interesting textures which add to the overall depth and drama of the song. There’s howling harmonies in the distance, a terrestrial synth line and effects applied to Internet’s vocals which make them sound as though they belong to an unknown entity from another dimension. Meanwhile, the sombre soundscape of ‘Goodbye’ is akin to the stripped-back minimalism on Ocean’s Blonde.

Elsewhere, Alex G is prevalent from the EP’s turning point, marked by ‘Freak (Interlude)’. There’s a hollowness to the arrangement conjured by the reverb applied to the uncomplicated guitar melody and intensity in their vocal performance. The meter of Internet’s melodic delivery of the lyrics across the song, which continues into ‘B There for Me’, matches Alex G’s style closely.

There are plenty of enjoyable hooks presented in BLUE 2000, from the infectious motif permeating ‘One Day’ to the Chic-like guitar riff punctuating ‘Luv’. However, the most enjoyable moments of BLUE 2000 reside in its textural subtleties and Internet’s ability to craft resonating lyricism.

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