Donzii – Penetrate
Florida’s Donzii made a big impression on us earlier this year with Fishbowl, a hot-house fusion of no wave, funk, goth, and new wave. Follow-up EP Penetrate doesn’t vary wildly from that impression, but it’s a solid reminder of what makes Donzii feel fresh and fun in the first place. The three original tracks point to the confidence the trio has whether they’re delivering a dadaist approach to Americana via Pere Ubu (“John Wayne”) or a spastic linking of skittering no wave and tropicalia (“Lizzy”). The amped up remix of dreampop deepcut “Fun” simultaneously makes the track more floor friendly by giving its percussion some synthpop propulsion, yet completely estranges the vocals at the same time. There are no shortcuts to popularity here, with Donzii intimating that if you’re into their bright and rhythmic style, they’re going to make it as weird as it is catchy.
David J Bull
The Energy EP
Cardiff based producer David J Bull’s music falls neatly into the retro-body music and new beat revival category, and like the material on his DKA EP Body & Beat, new release The Energy EP shows a solid understanding of how those genres intersect and distinguish themselves from one another. Opener “Shake Out, Get Loose” revolves around a hypnotic synth arpeggio that suggests the end of body music that fed into techno, but the vocal ad libs (either sampled or made to sound like samples) suggest the dancefloor hype of Belgian new beat. “Mechanical Earth (Energy Reprise)” has some of the same qualities in its pitched down stabs and punchy bass programming, but integrates some more melodic synthpop elements into the mix. The backhalf of the 4-track release is the strongest material we’ve yet heard from Bull; closer “Desolation Dance” cleanly invokes the rhythmic sampling and vaguely exotic sounds of the classic new beat era, as well as its low-key menace, while the title-track forgoes straight 4/4 drum programming to work the awkward funk that comes from flammed kicks, ghostly gated pads and chirpy synthwork.