Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Review| Hizmi- New Power

Cheapbeats have recently released a lo-fi glitch monster in the form of Hizmi’s ‘New Power’, in turn making up for their last two rather shaky releases. Written on a vintage X68000, a Japan-only home computer originally released in the late 80s, Hizmi, or The Eastern Aphex Twin, expels glitch madness and subtle melodic tones, all strung together with some of the most powerfully eclectic uses of bass I’ve ever heard. Whilst maybe not for the casual listener, those willing to wade their way through the patchworks of beats and melodic fragments are likely to find a fantastic release within.

Where ‘New Power’ succeeds best is in its ability to supply equal amounts of glitched chaos and consistent groove. Opener ‘Murasame’ cruises along at 30mph, seeping wonky hip-hop beats and sparklingly warm tones. ‘Swoop’ evolves from sparse percussive nuance into a trap beat so huge Chief Keef would be spitting vulgarities over it within seconds, and ‘Shigure’ flirts with lounge jazz whilst the scattershot beats and precise bass lend it a subtle groove.

Also of note are the sounds in general. Hizmi takes the X68000, runs clear of its use being a gimmick and instead heads straight for the door marked ‘Masterful Execution’. Whilst providing swagger, there is also a layer of luscious warmth running throughout, sounding like Boards of Canada as heard through a kaleidoscope.  ‘Gohyakubuchi’ strings together elements of downtempo with watery glitch, the subtle synthesised tones fashioning a collage of bubbly melodies.  Also, the album features frequent moments of staccato arps that twinkle like stars in a literary cliché that I refuse to complete, and they all add up to a listening experience which is as cathartic as it is disorientating (on first listen anyway).

‘New Power’ is fantastic, so good in fact it could have easily been released on the prolific glitch label Bedroom Research. Minus the rather superfluous, and to be honest bland, ‘Mpede’, Hizmi has crafted a set of varied, intense and detailed tracks that often surpass genre boundaries. Whilst the use of the X68000 here is unlikely to spur any revolutions within the scene or spawn many copycat producers, at the very least it etches Hizmi a niche corner of solitary brilliance, acting less as a preacher of the vintage home computer and more a purveyor of hardware experimentalism and the benefits that come with it. 

Favourite track: Swoop