Electronic music is all the rage on the charts right now. You put on a house beat behind any singer, sprinkle a couple of synth riffs, and voilá, you have a hot hit and a contender for a banger. Quite impressive for a style of music that’s almost a century old.
While the first experimentations with electronics might come from the beginnings of the last century, it took quite a while to get ahold of the US market as a pop entity and marketable product. In the Nineties, things looked like the dance revolution was to set take over as the new style of music to captivate the suburbs, but it wasn’t the case. Sure, The Prodigy, Chemical Brothers, Fatboy Slim and Moby managed to live in the limelight for a while, but soon everyone moved on. They pioneered the concept of superstar DJs that has been so profitable for the festival circuit, taking every element of it but the music itself. For that, you have to refer to someone like Wolf.
Everything Nineties is coming back around, so it’s no surprise that something that was so much part of the decade (larger than life personalities making Molly-fuelled audiences go berserk at large gatherings or raves) have come full circle. The music of the big time producers of yesteryear is now starting to rear its head around the corner again, though; we heard people like Princess Nokia use it to great advantage. Still, it hardly went away, as a diehard audience still cultivate a love and dedication to stuff like jungle, industrial, electronic body music, and bigbeat.
If I’m right and this is true, then Wolf might be one of the first exponents to bring it to the new millennium’s masses. The artist known as Carlos Juarez hails from Montreal where he heads the Infinite Machine label, and Drifting Away is the second release for another label, Heretic, itself also dedicated to this style of music. As Wolf, Juarez doesn’t want to do another “Praise You” or “Firestarter,” he rather make music for the new jilted generation, one that’s steeped in many more musical styles and its more aware of its lineage.
“No Love” opens the EP with what you might expect from something that seems so industrial at first glance. There’s spare darkness in the instrumentation thanks to the lugubrious keyboards and chopped and screwed voice. The beat, however stays on the bouncy side of things, being far less martial than what usually gets shrouded in said shades of sound– it’s much more dancey and we’re thankful for it. It also parallels dubstep without the clichés, if you can believe that.
For the other track on the EP, “The Truth,” Juarez teams up with Liar. This time, the drums are harder but in general it’s still a party; there’s something that makes your hips sway from side to side, rather than make your headbang your dreadlocks and stomp your PVC boots to. There are links to dub reggae thanks to the vocals on this track and the general treatment of the track. The rest of the playlist are remixes, including label boss Cloaka giving a Wax Trax coat of splendor to this track. “No Love” gets some rework love from Infinite Machine artists Beaka whose big beat and acid synths invite you to get down, same with Wallwork and RZR who go mano a mano with LTD Colours for something more jungly in the sound department.
It remains to be seen if this style of music will make a full on revival, or if it will remain in the shadows (no pun intended). Still, it’s good to check in with this scene from time to time to discover great artists like Wolf who are not comfortable with repeating a sound over and over again. Wolf makes a small revolution for those that will look in the future at the evolution of electronic music, and might discover someone who didn’t want to just nod along. Now, that’s a superstar DJ I can get behind.
Drifting Away EP will be available on Jan 12.