February 6, 2015

Son Raw is still in transit as of the time of this writing

Few things are harder than flipping a sound you invented inside out, particularly when it’s the concept birthed your whole career, but that’s exactly what Girl Unit has been doing through his Hysterics alias. “IRL,” “Cake Boss” and especially “Wut” will go down as timeless anthems, tracks you’ll drop in 30 years to fantastic responses, but it’s hard to ignore that their contemporary value has been dulled by a legion of cut-rate imitators who think merging Hip-Hop to dance music means slapping a few presets together. Word to “Festival Trap”, a sound and genre tag so ridiculous it makes “oompah music for a tank-topped 4th Reich” read like an understated description of just how bro’ed out and caucasian the whole thing is. I accidentally caught a Flosstradamus set last month: it wasn’t pretty.

So instead of neon-lit, VST-enhanced homages to the sound that Toomp birthed, Hysterics’ latest platter for Night Slugs takes us a few hundred miles north to Detroit and drops the computerized sheen for old school mechanical grit with chords midway between Metalheadz and Drexciya. The melodies are toned down a tad in favor of rhythmic, drum machine-based excursions, but whatever the alias,  Phillip Gamble has a knack for crafting tracks that stick with you long after the night is over. And while Night Slugs members have long existed in their own musical ecosystem, it’s hard not to hear tracks like Club Life and Eye Mask and not imagine how they might fit into sets outside their circle  – certainly everything here would go down perfectly alongside some of Mumdance and Logos’ harder moments. As far as second acts go, this one’s just as strong as the first, and this time it’ll take more than an 808 sample pack and some laser sounds to co-opt things.

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