Bass, techno, electroacoustic music and jungle are rung through his singular take on the hardcore continuum.
smog’s music has been on a steady path towards monumentalism since emerging out of the recesses of Berlin in 2015.
Originally from Paris, growing up cutting his chops in the capital’s hip hop undergrowth, the young producer makes music that is as challenging as it is evocative. On “sequel’70” – his debut album – bass, techno, electroacoustic music and jungle are rung through his singular take on the hardcore continuum. The production is powerful, dynamic and geared to bulldoze the dance. It’s clear why the likes of Resident Advisor have tipped smog as an “important artist to watch” and why his tracks have been appearing in sets from artists of the calibre and creative range of Objekt, Donato Dozzy, Samuel Kerridge or Go Hiyama.
With his debut album, smog lays bare a world of start and stop mechanics. Tracks twist and turn through stuttering panoramas of crashing beats, majestic peaks and post-rave intensity. On its most moving moments the gorgeously burnt out cinematic pads of “Mécanique Oblique” are a particular highlight – “sequel’70” feels like coming up in the middle of an industrial wasteland. It’s almost as if the end of the world wasn’t such a terrible prospect after all.
Jungle architectures are pulled apart and reconstructed on “Gelid”, “Dazzle” and the phenomenal “Abschluss SCAN”. Souvenirs of gabber echo through heavy handed kicks and speaker defying noise blasts. IDM inflexions creep their way in opportunistically, but even at its most abstract – album midpoint “Straightforward” sounds like a geiger counter being set off – it all sounds more like the possibilities offered by the future of rave rather than an attempt at paying homage to the genre’s heritage.
There’s a special energy and irreverence to smog’s music and there’s deep reflection in how he connects the dots of the subfamilies of rave. His attention to sound design would almost be worth the trip alone, but the album remains superb even at its most disorderly.