Contemporary house music suffers from a glut of arbitrarily replaceable elements. With its history having been stripped for parts and repackaged as sample CDs, specific sounds often function more as tropes or reference points than raw audio to be shaped. B.D.I.'s "Decoded Messages of Life and Love," on the other hand, is less collage than sculpture. Every sound counts. "Decoded Messages" simply wouldn't exist without the specific tuning and contours of each element—the rattling robo-cowbells, the frozen background keys, the ominous rumble of voice low in the mix. The bassline and percussion come together to create the illusion of an instrument that isn't there. It's a fluid, organic sound, morphing and mutating; it's unique. You won't find it on another record. It doesn't hurt, of course, that the track has a wicked kind of funk to it—wobbly and lackadaisical, until it knuckles down to a rolling, bouncing grind.
"New Robotics #17" has a thing for the industrial pop of Depeche Mode's Some Great Reward; it's all metallic clang and steamy hiss. But it's paired with a jazzy walking bassline and even odder elements, like triple-time blast-beat kicks borrowed from the death-metal playbook, so that it easily sidesteps any of retro's pitfalls. It may not be "new," but it's sure as hell original.
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Tracklist: B.D.I. - Decoded Messages of Life and Love A Decoded Messages Of Life & Love
B New Robotics #17