A melody-driven mixtape from the London producer.
ZERO2 includes both solo and collaborative efforts (0comeups, Malibu and Visionist feature) previously heard in live sets or radio shows. There's a clear focus across the tape, despite the range in styles and moods. Perhaps with Dark0 in album mode, it made compiling the mixtape a little easier. Opener "Oxygenesis" is Dark0 at his most club-facing. Those drawn to his more intense, trancier output will favour it alongside "Tooly" and "Eyes Ignite." "Hardwire" and "Lilith" are built from a similar perspective, but closer in spirit to Dark0's grime-indebted work.
Vocals have never been something Dark0's pushed to the forefront. It's the same on ZERO2, with vocals scattered across the tape sparingly—a lowkey Ariana Grande line here ("Eye Ignite"), or some pitched-up crooning there ("U I C"). The tunes don't feel bare without vocals, though, but it will be interesting to see if the album follows the same pattern.
The common ground between shimming melodies, textures and ambient leanings on one hand and cut-throat drum work on the other is still vital to Dark0's messaging, in the same vein as Mssingno, Plata or Visionist. Often, Dark0 chooses to fuse these contrasting elements together into a single track. On ZERO2 though, there are a few tracks ("After Years," "Opia," and "Reverie Eternity") that lean much further towards the sweeter and slow side of his palette.
Dark0's goal has never been to be the most hard-hitting, the most experimental even, with his beats. He has always been about creating emotionally available, accessible and sentimental material, in order to appeal to a wider audience and encapsulate the full range of his influences. The longer mixtape format on ZERO2 gives Dark0 more space to communicate these ideas and stretch them further. The mixtape is a welcome return and a taste of what's to come.