Portland-based bass music producer Alexander Dennis — otherwise known as Eprom — has conjured up a virtual behemoth of an EP called AIKON. Released on November 12th, AIKON is a five-track journey into an experimental soundscape of original design. After listening to this EP countless times, Eprom’s latest work still leaves much to be discovered. Allow us to attempt parsing the enigmatic machinations of Eprom’s sonic mind through an official Dance Music NW review.
Eprom culminates his signature sound into the refined form of AIKON. Early fans of Eprom will immediately recognize several soundbites and production themes found in his earlier work. Likewise, anyone who’s seen Eprom live will recognize his uncanny ability to progressively and organically introduce seemingly unrelated sounds into a cohesive, dance-ready track.
(The following logotypes for each song were made by Eprom himself in Adobe Illustrator and After Effects).
Hope, the opening track on this album, very appropriately encapsulates Eprom’s production style. With a glitchy, ominous intro, it gradually introduces familiar samples from Eprom’s sound design arsenal. Eventually, Hope drops into a cacophony of deep, staticky bass notes backed by some impressive synth work. Towards the last quarter of the track, Eprom drops into elastic basslines that seem to stretch far into the distance before rebounding back into the listener’s ears.
Next up is Daemon Veil, a track with long-time collaborator G Jones. Readers of Dance Music NW already know how much we love the bass wizardry that G Jones has to offer. In Daemon Veil, the experimental duo takes on a drum and bass track layered with drilling synthesizers and a dizzying array of other industrial sounds. A David Rodigan sample of “when you hear that bassline” primes the listeners for the unexpected drop. Keep listening as the track transitions into a more melodic tune reminiscent of the G Jones track Time off of his album The Ineffable Truth.
Easily the most experimental track on the EP, The Cat is an interesting interlude of sorts. It takes low-frequency bass notes and weaves them into a minimalist trap beat filled with reverberating sound designs. But just as The Cat really starts to rev up, it again goes minimal before transitioning into the next track.
Phoneme Gothik feels like the natural extension to The Cat. Although slightly less minimalist, it takes a spaced out approach to trap beat production. The spaces in between each bass note are peppered with acid house synths which Eprom is no stranger to. Overall, Phoneme Gothik seems to be about the harmony between completely different bass notes, accentuated by the empty space between those notes.
Finally, Eprom closes out this mind-altering EP with a chilled out, genre-defying track called Shirow Softworks. Don’t expect too much in the way of dance music here. Shirow Softworks is more of a showcase of psychedelic technological noises. Ambient, atmospheric harmonies send us floating down electron rivers set within silicon circuitry.
AIKON on repeat
Again, AIKON is an album that keeps surprising us with each listen. Moreover, Forward-thinking and unpredictable basslines keep this EP from losing its luster. Listen to AIKON below for the ultimate demonstration of what the underground West Coast bass scene has to offer.
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