It has always been my intention to explore the vast underbelly of electronic music, the infinite black hole of artists lurking in the shadows, while their more successful counterparts enjoy the spotlight from big publishers. I’ve continuously favoured the underground and I dedicated this website to sing its praises whenever I can. I never thought that these marginal alchemists would reciprocate and share their creative genius with me, but that they have, and every so often something comes along that particularly blows my mind and I simply can’t wait to tell everybody else. This recently happened again, when Italian record label Nodezero Electronics shared their latest release coming by way of newcomer Direct Y.
Through Electric Sheep I immediately recall Dopplereffekt’s Gesamskunstwerk or Hell’s NY Muscle as that first synth sequence breaks out of the depths of the unknown, but even though the sound is familiar to me, it is also completely alien at the same time. The 808 sounds chunky and the synths are substantial around the lower mid frequencies. As a result this three-track effort doesn’t instigate any nostalgic veneration. It’s firmly secured in the present and it is exactly what electro is supposed to sound like in 2014. Direct Y creates a menacing landscape that evokes images of a dystopian future-past as textures create an intricate lattice of parts that get transported along their bouncy electronic highway via its innovatively developed drum programming. A lot of thought has gone into the song structures and a track like Empathy Boxes, which wheezes along lethargically through a big modulating synth, wouldn’t exhaust even the most indifferent of listeners. The attention to detail doesn’t stop at the song structures however and Unit 1 especially garnered some attention for its inventive and remarkably well crafted vocal samples. They are not left to their own devices as the producer shapes them around the song to concoct more than just a catchy vocal hook through some very extreme processing.
It’s the little things like that, or the way the sequencing synth on Mona Lisa Overdrive continuously evolves tonally that really stand out for me and distinguishes him from a similar artist like Gesaffelstein for instance. It’s not the type of thing you generally hear on a debut and it left me wondering about the identity of Direct Y. Like the music the artist creates, its swathed in mystery. The press release avoids any reference to the artist and there’s nothing on the Internet except references to some sort of information network. Direct Y truly captures the mystique of the underground artist – something that’s very hard to do in the enlightened age of digital information. I don’t spend too much time searching though. It’s all about the music at the end of the day and when it’s this stimulating I get easily distracted.