Tuesday, April 9, 2013

DJ Ten's Adventures In Zionen

DJ Ten's latest EP is hot off the presses and blasting into hyperspace with five epic adventures that take the listener on a fantastic voyage into a futurised synthtopia full of excitement and glorious homages to classic 80s sounds. It's almost a year to the day since I reviewed DJ Ten's Retrological album (available for your perusal here) and it's wonderful to see DJ Ten come back rockin hard with a brand new record.

The style of the previous release, with it's mixture of new and classic sounds and arrangements makes a return, but the twelve month period between releases has found DJ Ten's sound crystallised into a more coherent vision. The five pieces on Zionen feel more in direct connection with each other, much more so than the Retrological album, which came across a tad disjointed. The five pieces are individualised experiences in many and varied soundscapes but an overriding thematic in sound and vision makes this a very engaging experience that makes the whole much greater than the sum of it's already rad parts.

Opening with some classic Futurama worship and a cacophony of synth melodies the title track builds a monstrously epic atmosphere within seconds. The main melody hits with wave of space tearing  percussion that rips the synths chord from chord as the saga is illustrated in waves of electric colours and aural turbulence. This track is so forceful and in-your-face with a one-two  knock out punch of visceral audio that it becomes a furious tornado of synth magic. Spectacular in delivery and execution from start to finish.

The mood takes on a more horror-esque dimension with this second track Electric Airglow. The intro sets a scene that is then taken to further extremes by more highly energetic synth melodies that are keep under control by a march of percussion that ensures things aren't allowed to get out of control. This is a perfect companion piece to the opening track as the instrumentation shares a common personality, however the music itself is taken from triumphant adventure into unknown savagery in an instant.

The EP hits a massive high note on track three with the powerhouse number-one-with-a-bullet hit single Tronical. This modern day take on classic 80s electro/break a'la Shannon's Let The Music Play sounds totally fresh and rocks eight ways till sunday with a kick arse vocal track that has just enough modernity to it without losing the seminal 80s qualities. The "I'm feeling so, Tronical" refrain is a work of genius, and makes this song absolutely rockin to the max with a chorus as catchy as it is timeless.

Moving into the fourth track we're kept firmly rooted in the classic mid 80s breakdance/electro rock dimension as the aptly named HyperDrive kicks in. The supercharged drum track is complemented with dramatic melodies and completed with a delightful array of classic 80s samples. The energy in this experience is once again held at maximum levels throughout and the music's blend of new and vintage sounds it once again balanced to perfection. This is THE song to be seen cranking on your boombox on the streets at maximum volume in 2013.

The Zioneon EP finishes with the K. Thallium Theme. This composition is an intriguing mix of synth romance melodies arranged with much more soundtrack oriented drama in mind. The contrast of these elements is very engaging, as a myriad of details are introduced and the atmosphere moves into more alarming territory. This track is very ambitious but works exceptionally well, finishing off the EP with the same intensity it began with.

And 'intense' is the perfect descriptor for this EP, the sounds are so intensely presented that five tracks really feels the right amount of music. Over a longer journey the intensity could become tiring, but in this format it feels like the perfect orchestration of the pleasures and adventures to experience in Zioneon. There is no respite from start to finish, making this EP easily one of the most exhilarating of had the pleasure of enjoying this year.

The Zioneon EP is presented on DJ Ten's Bandcamp here at a 'name your own price' price point. I highly encourage all fans of 80s inspired synth to get to the launchpad and strap yourself in for a thrill ride through the Zioneon world with DJ Ten as your pilot.

Set the afterburners and volume to maximum and get ready to rock!

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