For better or worse, EDM continues to be in the mainstream. Music festivals like EDC and Ultra will never cease attracting newcomers and bassheads alike. Due to the EDM explosion, many Internet companies have stepped up to support the hordes of EDM producers who want to take the stage someday. One example is the company Cymatics, which is known for crafting presets and sample packs influenced by the zeitgeist of popular EDM. They have grown increasingly popular, but not without a few critics. Deadmau5 is infamously one of them, but some criticism tends to be an accurate warning. The potential danger with producers using Cymatics is that they may never experiment further with the samples or presets. They use it as-is in a song, which is why he’s not a fan. Nevertheless, many respect the company’s service to indie EDM fanatics and a few artists have provided free sample packs.
The latest artist to provide one is Aevi, an EDM producer from Koblenz, Germany. Aevi’s style tends to be an energetic mixture of video game nostalgia, Chainsmokers-esque chords, and filthy Skrillex basses. In many ways, the music is similar to fellow German producer Virtual Riot, but while the latter makes “dreamy wubwub music,” Aevi’s chiptune synths are juxtaposed by the rumbles of dubstep and bass house. It’s this kind of music that has built up a faithful following of fans, and on Aevi’s latest EP, “Over”, the project reaches a climax of solid production and catchy melodies that make some of the producer’s best music yet.
The EP begins with lasers and manipulated vocals over ominous bass grumbles in “Incendium”. While its first drop fires Diplo-style trap melodies and Skrillex-esque roars, it’s the second drop that kills. Recently in the U.S., a particular style of dubstep called riddim has gone mainstream. The style harkens back to hip-hop and dubstep’s darker roots, and at times, the rhythmic basslines replicate some of its rappers’ back-breaking fast flows. Nowhere is that more evident here, as the riddim rhythms hit hard. Extremely hard. While this style is not new nor groundbreaking, “Incendium” is a great intro to the EP.
The second tune, “Chase,” begins with a simple hip-hop beat and jazzy piano chords. But as the tune builds momentum, it leads to a disorienting onslaught of video game synths and tasty bass stabs. There are chill moments where sounds of distant birds and water chirp, as well as the second drop’s key change keeps the listener’s interest. From here, the dubstep territory ends, as “See Me” combines Steve Aoki’s mainstage production with UK house’s classic swing. The drops blast bass squeals and orchestral horns, making a dark tune that’s sure to be someone’s guilty pleasure. Not to mention, the track ends with a random vocal sample that’s hilarious enough to break the track’s tension.
“Meteor” brings back “Chase”‘s jazzy flair, as cymbals ride over Kenny G-smooth saxophones, disco basses, and an electric house beat. However, the second drop three minutes in pierces crunchy basses and video game arps over silky Daft Punk synths. It just sounds too cool, and I wish Aevi would have expanded this musical idea consistently throughout. But for all its faults, “Meteor” is a nice change of pace in the EP. The closing track, “Over,” begins full-on with a slow, dark and distorted techno beat. Gesaffelstein seems to be a major influence here, as acid squelches screech over choirs and driving bass ostinatos in the tune’s drops. Although the track takes its time, the tempo increases towards house territory in the final minute. In my opinion, “Over” is the hardest-hitting track on the entire EP, and it provides a great ending to the musical journey Aevi spins throughout.
In general, Aevi’s “Over” is a great EP with enough earworm melodies and earth-shaking bass to make clubs go crazy. The production value is top notch, and the musical composition is some of the producer’s best to date. Regardless of whatever bass heavy genre you love, there’s enough variety here to gratify your taste. However, I have one gripe: While this is perhaps Aevi’s most mainstream release, I’m biased to the sound design of the project’s earlier work. While the style and production value have improved, earlier tracks like “Madman” or the “Locked Down” EP has more inventive sound design. Listening to the former track’s insane glitches, I feel there didn’t need to be such a compromise. But in spite of that, this is an EP with some bangers that are perfect for any dance floor. DJ, add this EP to your next playlist. Your crowd will thank you.
Available to buy at iTunes and other retailers!