A film about Northwest hip-hop from 2019
In their annual year-end critics’ poll, The Seattle Times ranked Fantasmagoría as the very best Seattle album of 2019, saying:
Talk about a record worth the wait. Three years ago (an eternity in streaming-era hip-hop), the real-life Olivia Hatfield, who previously performed as avant-soul singer Aeon Fux, released the well-received Black Trash, White House — wielding bilingual bars and Latin American influences — and became a club-circuit fixture. An experimental current has long coursed through a faction of Seattle’s eclectic hip-hop scene, one Guayaba gravitated toward alongside fellow Seattle favorites DoNormaal and Taylar Elizza Beth. But with this month-old alt-rap opus, the Tacoma-based rapper/singer has become a creative leader among this vibrant left-of-center coterie. A hair-raising uneasiness runs throughout the album, from the spooky cathedral intro that could open a Cradle of Filth album (not a total shocker coming from this former metal singer) to the horror-flick murder screams that dissolve into a Billie Holiday cover. Beguiling string arrangements drift over lurching click-clacks, with Guayaba shifting between bewitched low-register raps and devil’s-choir vocals across this haunted-to-perfection dreamscape. (Or should we say nightmare?) Fantasmagoría is a rabbit hole you absolutely want to fall down.