Lord Raja – Amadeus EP (Ghostly International)


In the year that’s passed since New York-based electronic producer Lord Raja released his preceding ‘Para’ album, he’s certainly had an eventful time, relocating to a Brooklyn basement studio as well as touring through Europe alongside Ghostly International labelmates Heathered Pearls and Shigeto. Raja describes the eight tracks collected on this latest EP ‘Amadeus’ as being a reaction to some of the overly pristine techno DJ sets he witnessed whilst travelling, with all of them being recorded in single takes using his arsenal of synths and drum machines.

Two collaborations with fellow New York producer Acemo bookend this EP, this first of which, ‘Streets Of Rage’ opens things in sheeny hiphop / electro territory as glimmering synth trails wind their way against what sounds like the background spray of a graffitti writer, the pads shifting into eerie minor keys as juddering MPC-triggered kicks and delay-drenched handclaps battle for space with metallic industrial hits. ‘Barrel’ meanwhile sees a cut-up female vocal sample repeatedly intoning the word “ass” over a springloaded background of trap-infused house rhythms as ragga MC vocals flit back and forth against cold-sounding ambient pads.

Elsewhere, ‘Mantra’ sees the dirty warehouse techno atmospheres reaching full bloom as a fat analogue bass arpeggiated sequence winds its way through a dense web of steely hi-hats and distorted kickdrums, and indeed it’s the chaotic yet beautifully controlled scatttered random samples, filtering and unexpected effects that prove to be some of the biggest highlights here, adding a sense of Raja flying completely by the seat of his pants as air-raid sirens stretch into the distance. As gritty, live energy-fuelled techno / electro workouts go, ‘Amadeus’ (available on cassette or as a download) pretty much hits the spot.


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A dastardly man with too much music and too little time on his hands