Updated: May 12, 2020
Nexus 23, the UK artist we have become quite familiar with these days, releasing on iconic labels such as Bass Agenda and Zero One Music, returns once again to one of my personal favorites, the mighty German imprint Battery Park Studio. With "Synth Knobs and Boomsticks", Nexus 23 delivers the fright and might with 10 tunes full of dark, menacing and tenacious vibes to take you into the apocalyptic realms of this fascinating composer, producer, and all around music fusionist with an eye on a future perhaps not too far ahead.
Starting off, we find "Tales From The Crypt"; an eerie, flat out deranged tune full of distorted kick drums with a bit of an Electrocore feel, introducing frightful synth melodies, as samples from the cryptkeeper deliver a nice touch!
Next, we find "Frenzy", an ode to old school Breaks, teeming with razor sharp tones and complex drum accompaniments, while "Autopilot" drops in with playful, slightly mischievous vibes as the drums once again get going with that Acid Breaks feel. Remind me of many of my favorite club tracks from the Rave era days.
"Spooks" starts to drift on over towards the Electro Breaks styles, hypnotizing the listener with psychedelic sequences, as eccentric bass synths create a mysterious atmosphere to dive into. "Radical Thought" however, gets frantic, and speeds things up as you begin to get blasted by spacey drones and mechanical programming, working in tandem with bizarre stabs that dangle from the spiderwebs within this strange world.
Moving on, "Hammerhead" is a cold, mystifying tune made up of shrill oscillations that together seem to form a perfect storm that bathes the listener in a deluge of high frequency drones and sequences, while "A+ In Bass Class" introduces quirky yet unforgiving beats that stomp the dancefloor. The bass notes here give this tune a nice edge that sets the mood for the complex machine work delivered. Top Electro tune!
"Infernal", perhaps my favorite so far, is an otherworldly tune that slows the tempos a bit, while maintaining the previous approach of highly complex sequencing that sound almost like binary operations at work. The synth work here is what really gets me, subtle, but hypnotizing. The vibes here remind me a little of The Cure, and some of the strange atmospheres they would create through deep delays and modulation effects, reminiscent of haunting bird sounds.
"Mystic Flow" gets pumping again, devastating your ear drums with ferocious industrial breakbeats and wicked, intriguing melodies, leading us into the final tune "Cortex", which experiments with bizarre sonic manipulations, yet closing out the album with gleaming stabs and vibes that soothe the experience with a slight Detroit Techno feel. The beats carry on with a militant march as the machine elves once again do their thing, keeping Nexus 23's tunes highly tuned and efficient.
Nexus 23 is a very unique artist, straddling the lines between Industrial, Breaks, and Electro, without getting too deep into any of those sounds to become cliche or purist. Instead, he hovers at just the right altitude, gathering the bits from his influences to introduce the listener to innovative Electronic tunes that challenge even the most veteran of groovers, reminding us of different periods of the history as Electronic composition slowly seeped into every genre of music out there.
"Synth Knobs and Boomsticks" is a highly recommended album on a highly recommended label that will add a nice twist to your daily whereabouts, or next DJ set. Support!