After getting his laptop stolen, doing a whole lot of introspection, and relocating to Mexico City (and then back to his home country), Costa Rican producer Raido is embarking on a six-EP adventure throughout the course of 2017. The EP series, titled Automatic/Manual, follows his 2015 album Jera. It kicks off with Automatic EP 1, which we recently previewed with opener “Dreams in Black.” Rather than highlighting the meditative quality of his repertoire, Raido turns to the saturation and moody undertones he has hinted at in previous works.
“Dreams in Black” is a standout, shapeshifting from a slick trap beat into a four-on-the-floor house rhythm and back without breaking a sweat, aided by the icy chord progression and the timbre of the synths. “Super Hot” lifts the spirit back up right from its airy intro, creating luminous hope. Or at least it does until the staccato bass line runs through like a train without brakes, clashing with the distorted elements. It all piles up and leaves behind a digital trail of cosmic dust.
Bass-heavy “Neko” could make for a gigantic hip-hop instrumental, but instead of getting pumped up by a rapper, flourishes of stunning synths pop in and out, weaving sweet textures. The EP closes with “Saw Dude,” which finds Raido at his most electronic yet. The repetitive melodic figure is a ballerina who dances right in the middle of the stage, surrounded by an ambient choir of faux-strings and 80s synths, whose final move turns her into an 8-bit Nintendo character.
This is only the beginning of a year full of music from Raido, who sounds ready and confident to dive headfirst into the colossal ride that is Automatic/Manual.