Glitched-out, "yo, omg"-inducing vides are nothing new for electronic music, at least since Chris Cunningham warped minds with "Rubber Johnny" almost exactly a decade ago. This doesn't stop director Anton Tammi from working some serious magic on Bruce Smear's (a.k.a. Tommy Davidson) recent single "Pick and Roll," from last year's CHLORINE EP. Following a particularly funky crustacean in his ongoing attempts to both get down and avoid being eaten, the video's packed with more eyebrow-raising cuts and post-production FX than I could shake a stick at, particularly one incredible, twisting shot where said crab warps around the screen's periphery to startle an ostensibly hungry scorpion, who turns in a marked gesture of surprise. It's this equally hilarious and perceptive shot, mixing the near-robotic movements of these critters with a perceptively human affect, that sounds such a true note with Davidson's work on the project, and with the genre at large: that the personal, emotional highs of the genre's best tracks are inseparable from its often mechanical backbone.
Nik Dawson, a.k.a. Bookworms, has never been one to paint himself into a corner, moving smoothly from crushed-out drum machine workouts to elegant, tropicalia-infused house tracks and jittery, high-BPM cruisers. The artist’s most recent release, Modes of Transportation, out this July on Brooklyn imprint Bánh Mì Verlag, sees Dawson sidestepping precedent yet again, and delivering a pair of ambient, albeit razor-sharp, drone-based compositions. Employing Dawson's signature approach to sound design and percussive elements into the mix, the new set of tracks feels like something of an exercise in duration, and the excerpt below showcases deeply textured, subtle rhythmic elements building a stark tension, one that feels perpetually ready to drop back into Bookworms' signature grooves.
Over the last several years, Brooklyn’s Robert DeBois has been honing his particular dystopian pastiche of techno, juke, club, and hardcore under the apocalyptic name DJ New Jersey Drone. The project’s grit and homebrewed lexicon only pushes that enigma further: What is Mind Club? Who/what/where is SYN? The less concrete the better in DeBois’s case, as his new EP, Espresso SYN spins the project's uniquely evil styles over seven tracks of high-BPM, hyper-jittery bangers worthy of the EP's caffeine-heavy title. Highlights include “Blood Kakao,” which switches up monster kicks and pounding bass lines over a warbling set of vocal samples, and closer “Lost Syn,” which finally pulls back the relentless BPM for a military-grade slow jam that drives home the Espresso's army surplus cover art. It's a strong continuation for DeBois's work, and an equally strong addition to the Bootleg Tapes roster, a label that's been firing on all cylinders since the start of 2015.
Few can match the impact on the sound of ghetto house than DJ Deeon, the Dance Mania alum whose hypnotically minimal productions, XXX-rated lyrics, and jittery, high-BPM rhythms left an indelible mark on Chicago’s mid-'90s underground and beyond. Two decades later, the folks at the Glasgow-based Numbers are reissuing four of Deeon’s original productions on a limited edition 12-inch, remastered from the original DAT tapes. It’s a welcome update on the hoard of YouTube uploads from the artist’s deep reserve of cuts, especially considering lead single “Freak Like Me,” which benefits from a boosted low-end and a polished vocal track that preps the 1996 classic for a new era of dance floor booty bouncin'.