Ever since California-natives Christian Williams (Xian) and Aaron Spasiano (Gaszia) put their solo projects on hold and joined forces to create X&G, their sound and influence on the beat-making community has matured and stretched to farther reaches than either of them ever thought they’d see. They became recognized by outlets like Thump and NestHQ for their debut EP only four months after establishing the duo, and quickly went on to attract the attention of vocalists and collaborators from all corners of the spectrum. Josh Pan in particular, a shadowy Skrillex-endorsed producer behind one of the trap/hip hop scenes’ most fascinating and diverse offshoots, took a lasting interest in the duo, leading to several noteworthy collaborations.
Today, X&G have released Anomalies, their next, full-length EP. The 11-track collection of dark and visceral rhythms manages to pull the listener into a headfirst plummet through heaps of crisp percussion samples, deadly vocal cuts and visceral atmospheric elements that create entirely unique sonic environments for each new beat. Upon even a surface-level listen, one can immediately grasp the two’s immensely serious effort towards crafting the ambitious yet fluid compilation of pieces that approach familiar ideas with aggressive innovation and a refined flow. The result is a no-nonsense display of X&G’s true skill behind the mixing board and unceasing ability to work alongside those like Josh Pan, Madeaux and more.
Visit X&G’s Bandcamp page here to purchase the EP now, and receive four bonus tracks for free!
The first track is called “Control.” Coming as an already unorthodox beginning to a dance music EP, the track infuses tribal and cinematic elements into a jarring teaser of what’s to come later on. Sharp, methodical percussion strikes and distant squeaks and screeches establish tension right at the start, allowing the wide horn blasts and rogue guitar plucks that emerge to eventually take center stage above resounding bass drones. The real magic in “Control,” however, comes simply from the sense of space X&G are able to create with several layers of overlapping drum hits.
“Show Me” was produced with Fransis Derelle, and features vocals from Sayso and K-si Yang. Beginning with a short phrase that repeats throughout the length of the track, the voices are thrown back and forth above a simple beat and vinyl fuzz. A forceful snare roll leads into a rise, before crashing down into a relentless series of bell hits and complex syncopation. Endless percussion hits echo and clang around the space until the vocals make a return, this time in the form of a fast-paced rap.
“Replika” begins with wide ripples of atmospheric wails and approaching patterns of percussive hits. High-pitched bells carry the listener upwards toward the climax, finally reaching its peak to the rhythm of an enormous kick drum filling the entire spectrum as it slams down in front of echoing tones. Eventually, the low frequencies are stripped away, allowing the weight of the previous drop to truly sink in. The climb begins once more, ending in a teasing array of rapid 808s before the kick finally reenters the picture.
“With this EP/Album we really tried to push the boundaries of ourselves and music altogether. New techniques, mixing new sounds, genres, etc. trying to just find our own sound amidst all these other producers jumping on the next hype train. With our last EP 4am, we just wanted to make something really laid back that you can listen to. With this we just wanted to experiment with wild sounds and energy.”
On their collaborations:
“It was always really smooth. Everyone seems open to new ideas & experimenting and wanting to push boundaries. Fransis Derelle lives nearby so we tend to meet up and bounce ideas we’re working on. We then linked up with a lot of people this year, such as josh pan and Madeaux. They are some of the dopest and most talented people. they’re always stoked on what we create and seem to resonate most with our vision(s). With Nayla and K-Si Yang, we had an old version of Show Me that was more laid back. Then Nayla sent us some ideas for Maub earlier this year, but they fit perfectly in Show Me. We’ve released probably 6 tracks, altogether there are 11 on the album. There’s an insane amount of material that we went through for potential album material but a lot of it has been scrapped and may never see light of day.”
To purchase Anomalies in full, head over to X&G’s Bandcamp page now!