Zoltan: Pardon, What? (Hum + Buzz)
Hungarian producer Zoltan’s 6-track EP for Ikonika’s Hum + Buzz label is both fascinating and relentless, an odd amalgamation of post-dubstep grit, techno bob, EBM muscle, and chiptune noise. It comes on strong with a pairing of pummeling machine gun tracks, stuttering and sputtering mechanically in time like Secondo put through an Amiga. I read a review of this online that claimed that his tracks run too long, and I’m inclined to agree, though if that’s his worst offense it’s a pretty minor one. The intensity of his tracks lends itself to brevity, but most tracks approach or exceed the six-minute mark. The front half is definitely my favorite if I had to pick, because these tracks’ cut-up samples and machine gun repetition feel less typical of what’s en vogue lately, almost at odds with dance music, but still likely to liven up a more adventurous DJ set in more capable hands.
Zoltan shares some of label boss Ikonika’s love of chintzy sounds, dated computer nostalgia, and dry rhythm arrangements heavy on syncopated rapid-fire claps and/or kicks, and all of it is showcased on “Pardon, What? (Msc),” a welcome reprise of the EP’s signature weirdness that was missing on the more conventional “Saturn.” That said, Zoltan does offer up some more conventional rhythm for techno sets on “Saturn” and “Phobos,” with the latter still having enough weird triggering and stuttering in its arrangement to give it the same weird flair found on records from Errorsmith, Soundhack, and the MMM crew. Even when sometimes the results are abrasive (particularly in such heaping helpings), Pardon, What? has some unique and unpredictable elements that set it apart from the pack, in all the right ways.