A rare EP from the godfather of Romanian minimal.
The same could be said of many of his contemporaries, and it's hard to pinpoint how exactly Rhadoo stands apart, besides being particularly reduced. Rather than beating you over the head with memorable components, he seems content to drop extremely drawn-out, enigmatic studies in rhythm and texture every few years. He could get by without releasing anything at all.
Semantics strips away all sentimentality and forces dancers into a potentially endless state, where the bass and beats are welcomingly housey but the sound design comes off like an audio version of a contaminated chemistry lab. But on closer inspection, Semantics is marginally more outgoing than previous Rhadoo records. "Gerunziu," despite being the most rhythmically obtuse option of the set, is among his most colourful, busy tunes. Its plucky, randomly pitched bass tone sounds like a modular synth's approximation of a double bass, but the steadfastly syncopated beat keeps things on a holding pattern, almost maddeningly so when listening outside of the club.
Lack of context can be cruel to music like this. The initially cheeky but bafflingly long "Fierbinti" also becomes provocatively boring when listened to in isolation, but its structure is purpose built for extended mixes, preferably across three decks. With its growling, almost UK-adjacent bassline, "Om Neom" is the standout, and pairs perfectly with "Mount Ararat," whose beat recalls last year's remix of Mihigh. Both boast a screwface-inducing degree of shuffle and weight, and the welcoming suppleness of their grooves provides a strong foil for the subtly chaotic squiggles lurking in the background. Semantics isn't and never was going to be a bombshell, but for those who appreciate how these spartan productions work on a big system, it's about as good as it gets.