Electro and IDM from Wanz Dover.
Though Wanz Dover is anything but new—he was once a staple of the Texas psychedelic rock scene—his Blixaboy project has a more recent genesis. Blixaboy was born out of a trip to Detroit for Movement Festival, when he discovered Submerged, Underground Resistance and Drexciya. He calls it his "finding Wakanda moment," the moment he discovered how American dance music and Afrofuturism tied together. After several self-releases and records on labels like Central Processing Unit, he returns to the Blixaboy name for its most fully realized project yet, an album that ties together new-school IDM and classic Dallas electro into one complex, captivating whole.
A natural musician with a penchant for live performance, Dover's arrangements are complicated yet never knotty. Some tracks, with their unconventional scales and clashing melodies, remind me of mid-period Autechre, if the duo were more straightforward about their heavy electro influence. You can hear it on "Bio-Man," which should be unwieldy but cruises along with the night-drive feeling of the best Dallas electro. And if you're looking for that hometown sound, you'll find it on "Quasar's Return," with a warm hug of a bassline that's a benchmark for the style.
Azanian Funk is named for the Azanian People's Liberation Army, the military arm of the strictly Black nationalist South African group Pan-Africanist Congress. This album functions like a Black reimagining of early '90s IDM and electro, pitched between the rough seas electro of Drexciya, contemplative dub techno and the Detroit-inspired jazzy techno noodling of B12 and Kirk Degiorgio's earliest work.
Moments throughout Azanian Funk trigger memories of other artists—the swooning dub techno synths of his pal Convextion on "March Of The Comet Empire"—but what's most remarkable about the album is how it makes new material out of old elements. Take the incredible "An Occurrence In Quadrant Alpha": you can trace elements of '80s P-funk and early Submerge electro, but rarely have those sounds been so smoothly combined. The tracks towards the end of the album feature odd textural touches, like the blunt EBM percussion of "Psions From Mars" or the ascending 8-bit melodies that gleam like twinkling quartz on the closer "Lord Of Time," where Dover really puts his twist on things.
Dover is one of those artists that can capably play any genre he tries his hand at. From the imaginative title to the equally open-ended music, Azanian Funk takes the established sound of Dallas electro somewhere new, somewhere more daring. Plugging away in the Texas underground for decades, Dover has rarely gotten a fair shake for his talent. But material like Azanian Funk, or the Databreak EP earlier this year, reveal a stronger voice that anyone interested in this music, from Detroit to Dallas, could appreciate.