Stazma: Shapeshifter (Concrete Collage, 2020) + Fluorhydrique EP (Defunkt Records, 2020)

August 22, 2020 at 3:51 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Stazma: Shapeshifter

Beautifully crafted chaos from French producer Julien Guillot, who has released music on Peace Off, Murder Channel, Acroplane, and lots of other labels. Shapeshifter, which is NYP on Bandcamp and will eventually be available on vinyl, as a remarkable set of complex, hugely emotional tracks which apply fizzing acid and occasional dubbed-out textures to kinetic, always-alert IDM, and while there’s tracks that explore a more reflective mode, like the almost choral-sounding “Psev”, the producer hasn’t given up mind-battering breakbeats, as the epic “Triton” or the Speak-N-Spell-ified “Compu1” will attest. Really, the best ones here are the once that balance more ponderous moods and subtle details with moments of all-out onslaught, which is the majority of the album. Breakcore and IDM are always going to be extreme niche genres, and especially something like this that’s at the intersection of both, but for those that can get into it, this is some lovely, engrossing stuff. In some ways, it’s as grotesque as the cover art suggests, but don’t expect the bodily function obsession of Otto Von Schirach or the metal/baroque/chicken clucking blender hybrids of Igorrr. This is outlandish and intense but not as obviously wacky or shocking as those artists might come off as.

Stazma: Fluorhydrique EP

Fluorhydrique (also NYP with hope for a vinyl pressing, someday) is shorter but similarly focused, and maybe a bit more immediate. Drawn-out glitch-breaks that snap back into perfectly orchestrated mayhem, acid drizzles, menacing tension, and a frantic sense of progression are all present in these relatively short but powerful tracks. “Margin” is a diversion into soothing electric robo-dub, made extra slippery by Terminal 11’s remix, and intro track “Jardin Bleep” is a brief moment of spacey signal transmissions, but otherwise there’s hard-hitters like “Blue Screen” and “Defunktional”.

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