Isqa puts a freaky, glitchy spin on dubstep like we’ve never heard with his new “Melancolor EP.” It’s difficult to categorize his style; minimal yet moving, wide open yet totally calculated. Unexpected is another word that comes to mind, considering the producer’s last few releases have been much heavier, with remixes of Deadmau5 and Protohype. There’s even a vague Tipper vibe throughout much of the atmospheric glory contained in this EP, but the style is unmatched.
“Intro” might lead in like a typical 128-bpm banger, but it possesses galactic charm that truly propels the tune into uncharted territory. A mild, 16-bit melody rests below all the noise, paying homage to legends like Flux Pavilion and Doctor P. The rest is truly enchanting. The sort-of soundscapes between heavy segments really accentuate the attention to detail lathered throughout the EP.
Next up is “Too Real Morrison,” a trippy journey down glitch-hop lane. This is easiest the most challenging track of the bunch to identity. Filled with chopped-up samples, original synth and an occasional beat that reminds the listener that they’re actually tuning into music, the eclectic bunch will fall in love. The utterly sporadic change in sound from beginning to end calls to mind The Avalanches, a band you’ve probably never heard of because of legal battles ever since they illegally(?) used over 2,000 vinyl samples on their debut record. ‘Too Real’ doesn’t have that many callbacks, but it sends ears on a swivel all the same.
The title track shatters the cookie-cutter mandate once more with all sorts of sporatic, choppy bits that masterfully align in rhythm. The main melody and its accompanying sound effects call back all sorts of ‘hero music’ from the video games we grew up on – Pokèmon, Mega Man, practically anything published by Nintendo in the 90s. It’s an unmistakable vibe that’s sure to churn your conscious a bit. Isqa does an outstanding job logging so much old school style while also keeping the tune fresh and appropriate for 2014.
“Red” sends us off with the most vicious drop of the tape, comparable to the likes of AFK or Bare Noise. Yet Isqa still maintains the mystifying ambience floating below each of Melancolor’s tracks.