Trying to fit Cities Aviv neatly into an underground hip-hop category is difficult and maybe even pointless. Not many rappers are so willing to forgo hooks in favor of murky atmospherics or chaotic electronic madness.
The first single off Come to Life, “URL IRL,” bounces along playfully, and that’s a little unusual. The following track, “Dissolve,” when he’s punching out every syllable of “We turn into dust / Dissolve into dust,” is more what we’ve come to expect. Even when he says he’s “never felt more alive” on “Still,” it doesn’t exactly sound joyful.
Come to Life is sharper than his past work. His rapping, while still nearly devoid of inflection or an inclination toward clever delivery, is more forceful. Some of the hazier sounds are punctured by sharp snare and cymbal hits. When he picks up the tempo for something like “URL IRL” or “Heat,” it’s slightly off-kilter and disorienting.
And so, Cities Aviv makes another record for the internet. It’s nearly impossible to dance to something so erratic, and the raps aren’t meant to encourage anyone to join in. You just have to sit there and appreciate the compelling strangeness of it.