Izora – One
(Zodiac Music, 2021-12-14)
Before commenting “One”, it is worth coming back to the roots of hypnotic techno to build some relevant links with the drum’n’bass, this last genre being also covered in our media for the very first time.
Many artists from the 1970-80s generation confirm this idea: the hypnotic techno aesthetic artistically comes from Detroit & Säcko’s minimalism and technically from the sampling method: (very) simply said, you build a sample, you loop it, you add some artistic chemistry, et voilà.
Some media oppose the “hypnotic” techno with the “progressive” techno, while the hypnotic techno is progressive, like most IDM: it’s just that the build-up is more or less subtle, sometimes barely perceptible. The “trippy” effect is also often opposed to the “hypnotic” effect, which makes sense to distinguish a psychedelic drone from – say – a hypnotic metronome: it’s admitted that the trippy effect sets the mind in a trance state while the hypnotic effect alienates it. Distinguishing both however became less relevant after Basic Channel merged them together in its ambient techno, setting the path for the next generation of artists: today’s hypnotic techno is hypnotic and trippy, a very efficient sonic mixture to get lost and eventually experience an ecstasy.
Thanks to this combination, the artists get closer to replicating the effect of the psychotropic drugs musically, a more or less stated goal, which also explains the abstract linkage with shamanism. Donato Dozzy admits that the Italian hypnotic techno, with its add-ons of trippy drones and atmospheres, first and foremost comes from the weed culture, more extensively from the alternative music movement, very vivid in Roma’s club/squat Brancaleone where he used to perform.
A repetition, a subtle build-up, some trippy atmospheres, a root in the alternative movement… A warm welcome in the “hypnotic drum’n’bass”, which also shares these ingredients…
If we had to define it: we’d firstly say that it’s also an underground sub-genre, dirty but not violent, usually dark but evolving in the deep and trippy side more than in the hardcore one, not centred on heavy snares for instance, but rather on subtle percussions tainted of atmospheres and field recordings. Said differently: it’s a more minimal drum’n’bass, sometimes tribal, “made to get lost and experience an ecstasy.” Astral Industries’ owner mentioned a “drum’n’bass that expresses the rage of the youth, ephemeral because usually abandoned when getting older”: it’s not this one…
We are referring to a drum’n’bass that remains in the heart of the hypnotic techno artists, the one that has inspired Dycide to build complex percussions in his hypnotic techno tracks, the one that still takes a big place in the music composition of the label Horo, unable to completely get rid off its Samuraï, the one that wakes up Donato Dozzy from his chill-out mood.
It’s a drum’n’bass sometimes evolving in the halftime feel, where many hypnotic techno lovers, whether they are DJs, producers or simple music enthusiasts, are currently more and more leaning toward to, for being a bit bored by the lack of creativity felt in the hypnotic techno scene and/or just to extend their musical horizon further, this last motive being our case. Emblematic labels of the aesthetic are for instance Kurnugû, Onset Audio, Conspired Within Music, Vykhod Sily Recordings and today’s focus: Zodiac Music.
This is a very long introduction to review Izora’s last work on Zodiac. But in another hand, there is not much to say about the artist and the label, since they both play a very mysterious card: they are on the usual music platforms but not on social media for instance. We only know that Zodiac Music is established in the UK, which is not surprising. We’ve already mentioned this label on our Facebook page, while introducing Shinbu, another top artist of the genre. Zodiac Music evolves in the deepest underground floors, playing the invisible card also with its artworks, dissolved in its “50 shades of grey” (see here).
In “One”, the first track “Conjuring”, featuring Bereneces, is for us the greatest banger of the EP: with its ominous cinematic mood, the rolling percussions bring the listeners on a mesmerising rough ride, cadenced by the immersive rhythmic pulse. “Schizophrenic” and “Dark Star” propel the cinematic layer in tenser dimensions, sustained by more old-school drum fills from the UK genre of the past decade. “One” is a real feel-good track with its uplifting soulful bass and its percussive game. The EP closes on a darker note with “Bring Me Back”, more monotonic, provided with a storming drum’n’bass beat that somewhat feels wet and sticky, translating well to the heat of the anxious mind.
If you are looking for dope drum’n’bass mixes, we recommend you to start with Bereneces’ Soundcloud channel. The UK artist paints his sound with a distinctively dark and charismatic palette and educates our ears by sharing the track ids. Besides that, we hope to get more information on Zodiac Music and Izora over time.
WRITING BY: CEDRIC FINKBEINER | 20 DECEMBER 2021