At the core of all the classic Electro records is the idea that the music can be more than the sum of its parts. Aux 88, Underground Resistance and Drexicya all took simple tools like the TR-808 and the TB-303 and used them to paint vivid pictures of dystopian futures, modernist techno-utopias, and distant underwater worlds.
Just as with the pulp sci-fi that inspired many of the early Detroit pioneers, the advance of technology (and its revolutionary repercussions in the world of music) inspired visions of futures both dark and bright, and allowed the marginalised African-American communities of post-industrial cities like Detroit a space to communicate both a unique escapism and a sweeping political message where technology could be both our saviour and our downfall.
The resurgence of the genre in 2016, championed by dance-destroying heavyweights like Helena Hauff, Stingray and DMX Krew, once again ignited the imagination of the underground, birthing a wide raft of producers that have created, in their own ways, visions of futures unknown. Notables such as Mechatronica, Jensen Interceptor and CPU Records have brought the sound into the 21st century with modern takes on the electro philosophy and aesthetic, while new labels and artists emerge regularly, 808 and 303 clones armed to kill.
Frankfurt native Luz1e is one such newcomer who has been honing her unique, uptempo sound for the past couple of years with releases on Shall Not Fade, Lobster Theremin and now, Berlin-based International Chrome.
Returning with four heady, club-focused workouts, Luz1e’s Cybernetic Movements EP is her most assured release to date. The instrumentation across the release is deceptively simple, using a limited palette formed from a few hardware synths and a drum machine to create a unique language of textures and rhythms that gives the four tracks a unified identity clearly in thrall to Motor City old guard.
Opener ‘Surge’ wastes no time establishing the mood, kicking off into an impressively weighty 808 rhythm and staccato bass Mad Mike would be proud of. The tasteful restraint shown in the arrangement of the track allows a relatively simple pattern to build in intensity, holding off just before boiling point. This no nonsense approach permeates the release, allowing the simple arrangements and individual parts to confidently express a visceral, dystopian aesthetic.
‘Seismic Shift’ and ‘Cybernetic Movements’ follow a similar formula, using mysterious, atonal melodies to create otherworldly atmospheres that float delicately over the pulverising low end on offer, conjuring the image of several malfunctioning machines trying to desperately communicate with each other. ‘U Said I Couldn’t Do It’ ups the ante even further, pushing the tempo and introducing a Ghettotech influence that shines a slightly different light on the simple but satisfying bass sequences that define the sound of the release. Make no mistake – this is top drawer material.
Cybernetic Movements EP is out via International Chrome on 30th October – pre-order and listen to the title track single here.