Mefjus, the Austrian Neurofunk Powerhouse! Having produced a stellar album in late 2014, he has been hard at work last year making a bunch of remixes and collaborations with some of the hottest names in drum & bass: Icicle, Phace, Enei, Noisia and Hybris, The Upbeats, InsideInfo and the list goes on… but not contempt with a very prolific portfolio he has returned to the label that made him a household name for his first solo work of the year! Indeed, a little bit over a month ago he released the Blitz EP on Neosignal Recordings.
With each release he just keeps pushing his sound further and further and the Blitz EP is no exception. Some may think that the songs on display here are a bit tamer than the HUGE tracks from Emulation, and yeah they aren’t quite as insane as some of his previous work, but I think that’s really refreshing, since Mefjus is proving that the techier side of the genre isn’t as one-dimensional as some people make it out to be. I mean, it wouldn’t be very artistically fulfilling to make Suicide Bassline over and over…
The Blitz EP provides us with four incredibly sleek, addictive pieces of ear candy which, in my opinion, are satisfying not only for the dancefloor but for regular listening too. The songs are packed with so many details and the sound is very enveloping and kind of creamy, never overly aggressive, encouraging the listener to put the EP on repeat and indulge in every millisecond of crisp breakbeats, alien basslines and smooth soundscapes.
So far everything I’ve had to say about Blitz is positive, but I do have a minor gripe with it, as I think the title track is the weakest here. Don’t get me wrong, it is very good, but the other 3 songs are completely mind-blowing! I get that he may not want to produce tracks with an insane bass sound design on every song and it does have a nice groove too it, but it is lacking a bit in variation throughout the drops. That said, the intro and the breakdown are smashing and really build up the intensity in proper Mefjus fashion. When you get to the drop after it says “More Impact” the intensity if definitely there, although a bit more subtle than what we are used to from him (again, see Suicide Bassline or his remix of Neosignal’s Sequenz). I enjoyed the fact that the bassline was quite rock n roll in its melody and rhythm. I also really like the nod to Phace in the breakdown, with the epic descending melody… And at that point, I expected quite a switch up in the second drop, which sadly didn’t really happen. Then again I can understand that this is more of a roller and it does work to great effect in any mix, but it feels more like a DJ Tool, easy to mix with pretty much everything, but lacking a touch of personality.
Clock Off, a collaboration with Phace, really gets things back on course with its maddening energy and twisted bass work. This one is a Stormer! Its main bassline is deceptively simple, but in the drops, it is interspersed with a bunch of interesting little bursts of mangled sound and reverberated techno stabs. This arrangement creates some complex riffs that are quite different in the track’s 2 drops, which keeps the energy high throughout its entirety and warrants repeated listens to catch an interesting new detail every time. The vocal treatment is also really cool, the artists playing around with the formants and some very granular time stretching, which gets even more interesting when the vocals are merged with the bass line after the first drop. And to perfectly round out the dynamics of the track, we are treated to an epic intro and breakdown with some lush choirs and pads that set a serene tone… But that quickly descends into the aural madness these two are known for with strident tension-filled synths!
Purify is pure neurofunk fire, starting out with one of those sci-fi atmospheres we love so much, reminiscent of the Neosignal Energy EP. This is quickly followed by a maddening arpeggiator sequence before smacking us in the face with an evil rave-stab riff. In typical Mefjus fashion, this one goes for the jugular and is engineered to destroy the dancefloor, much like the song before it. The intensity is slightly tamed before the breakdown, which in turn wastes no time in building up even more tension to smack us in the face with the second drop! The song then reverts to the arrangement of the first drop for the end, leaving us out of breath, yet still craving for more! This is a tune that would have been perfectly at home on the Emulation album, having a vibe similar to Hybrid and Expedition.
So far this EP is very enjoyable, but my favorite track of the EP is its final number, Chaos Theory. This track oozes quality and class and has an amazing deep techy sound that is very enveloping and smooth. Unlike the 2 previous tracks, which are meant for intense dance floor workouts, this one doesn’t contain any jump cuts in the arrangement. It has a great rolling vibe, with new elements weaving in and out and flowing in waves of reverb and techno stabs. It isn’t as aggressive as much of Mefjus’s work and harkens back to the time when drum & bass more home-listening friendly, and it would probably work wonderfully in a sci-fi soundtrack, with its next-gen atmosphere and laid back, yet meticulously crafted beats and basses. I only wish it kept going for at least 2 or 3 more minutes!
What more is there to say? If you are a fan of techy drum & bass, grab it now if you haven’t already. While not as wild or varied as his album Emulation (this is just a 4 track EP after all), it is a strong effort from Mefjus and it will please your feet, your ears and any hyperactive mind craving for some fresh and inventive new sounds!