UK-based electronic producer Zodiac Childs emerged earlier this year with his debut ‘Basic Process’ EP on his own new label Zodiac Wax, and now this follow-up 12” EP ‘Faction’ showcases the label’s developing artist roster, collecting together five exclusive new tracks. Like Childs himself, the tracklisting here is comprised predominantly of new names, with most of the music here representing the debut release for these artists.
Throughout this EP, the emphasis falls upon sheeny electro surfaces, with a distinctly post-Nu Skool breaks atmosphere intersecting with more contemporary UK bass music influences. Childs opens proceedings here with his own ‘Lifeblood’, which sees an opening wash of ambient synth sweeps and Timothy Leary samples giving way to dark electro-funk synth sequences and stiff-sounding drum machine rhythms, the gritty breakers-friendly textures undercut with a proggy and spacious feel.
House Of Joy’s ‘Welcalm’ rolls with a much heavier dubstep feel as vast sub-bass drops lurk cavernously amidst crunching snare hits and dubbed-out ragga samples. Ninechecker’s ‘Mainline’ opts for a more icy and clinical electro path that calls to mind the likes of Anthony Rother and Model 500 as dark distorted bass buzzes against bleeping electronics and shuffling handclaps, the entire gliding with a curiously airless feel, the emergence of garbled robo-vox signalling a turn into more Kraftwerk-esque waters.
Elsewhere, 1210’s ‘Thonglor’ brings back the dry rattling snap to the rhythms as vast bass stabs jab against jittery snare rolls and phased-sounding percussion, in what’s easily the most economical and efficient moment on offer here. As an introduction to Child’s new Zodiac Wax label, ‘Faction’ manages to be pretty impressive.