Datashader – Digital Entropy EP (Tresor) – Album Review

Sheffield’s Datashader critiques the toll digital technology is taking on human relationships with seven banging, shuddering, throbbing tracks of mangled breakbeats, corrosive acid, sleek drum ‘n bass, and vaporous bass music for Tresor.

Think how often you hear the phrase “it’s just online,” as if digital interactions haven’t been shaping our IRL interactions for well over a decade. Just think of people speaking the phrase “LOL” for an easy example. It doesn’t take that far-out of an imagination to visualize a world with real-time speech filters, body modification goggles, or whatever other digital dystopia that keeps you up at night.

This is the heady concept behind Datashader’s new EP for Tresor – 7 tracks of breakneck breakbeats, sleek drum drum ‘n bass, steely techno, and abstract digital noise.

“Velocity” lives up to its name, kicking things off with a hard and fast breakbeat and stately drum ‘n bass, cruising along at a pummeling 150 bpm, before dissolving into a bomb pop puddle of liquid abstraction. This is followed by the more straightforward techno with an industrial bent of “Sync Out Off,” nearly mellow and tranquil at 137 bpm, like a taxi ride through Chiba City at 3 am.

like a taxi ride through Chiba City at 3 am.

Atmosphere replaces beats somewhat on the next track. “Fong feat. Kastil” foregrounds icy, itchy hi-hats over brooding Gothic stained glass synths.

Things pick up a bit with the slow, stately halfstep of “Sub Osc,” an album highlight, which starts off airy and ethereal and gradually becomes denser and more solid, like a mirage crystalizing into the Yellow Brick Road right in front of your eyes.

“Tight Gate” is possibly the brightest track here, with its streamlined breakbeat and sunrise synth that slowly dissolves, until nothing’s left but the ghost of a rhythm, like ripples from a skipping stone.

Things close out with the one-two punch of Dopplereffekt’s remix of “Breath Controller,” “Breath Controller (Dopplereffekt Gravitational Remodel),” the firm fan favorite, with a rigid EBM beat over the original’s airy atmosphere, exclusive to the digital download, which plays us out into darkness.

Datashader is a shadowy, enigmatic new project with virtually no information about them, apart from five scant Instagram posts and two shrouded, mysterious photographs. Whoever they are, they’re off to a killer start! Incredible talent paired with insightful ideas and high style. That’s as good as it gets!

Digital Entropy is out now on Tresor.





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