It’s been a minute since Herobust swarmed us with “Pump This,” his collaboration with Snails, and even longer since his 2011 EP ALbumin. But the man has been lurking in the shadows compiling an eardrum-defiling magnum opus that’s arguably the best release of 2016 thus far.
Titled I’m Aloud, the EP is Herobust’s sonic expression of breaking the rules, cruising his own wave, and exploring the inherent weird. At eight-tracks long, I’m Aloud has a level of continuity not seen in most releases of this kind, delving into a particular breed of sound while exploring the opportunities of its different cadences. It’s all about borderline insanity and deranged robots trying to finagle their way out of restraints, and Herobust packs in more than enough bass to get your dome piece bobbin’ and weavin’ along.
You’ve heard “Skurt Reynolds” throughout 2015, and its penetrating breakdown is the perfect start to the EP. Abrasive synths scratch over chalkboards in a detuned frenzy while moments of future bass waver over the mix, but the main focus is on the blown out growls and yelping laser melodies.
“Dirty Work” continues the shivering industrial vibe with dialed shrieks to support more malicious trap, and “Barricadence” feels like trying to subdue a barracuda and pull its tooth. Seriously. The wet oscillations give a slimy feel to the track, while the high pitched skids nod to erratic movements and snapping jaws. For a moment the tune goes in for a phase of hard dance, then it’s back to flapping around over the decks.
Working our way on, “Smother Shit” returns to robotic calls of longing, upping the brooding, metallic clangs with a complement of shattering highs that sound like neglected joints short-circuiting.
“Bottle Swervice” maintains the brutalized theme, juxtaposing classic trap screeches against mechanical backfiring and more failing circuitry. Bleeping alarms reign in an orchestral bridge for a regal feel, and then we’re treated to another dose of hard dance before the tune zips to an outro.
“Booty Be Like” is Skurtish with a hint of Reynolds, definitely apt as a mainstage power anthem with bits of moombahton sprinkled about the rumbling bassline. It’s immensely powerful, rife with embellishments and gated beasts pumping their chests against the status quo. “Pipette Up” is next in line, and it’s a cavernous tint of the EP. Darkened shrieks ring out more than their predecessors, and the atmosphere is thick and misty thanks to the ominous bells haunting the backdrop.
Finally, “Weigh Home” is hued in R&B, and is certainly the most traditional track of I’m Aloud. Though the same breed of sound design is present, it’s toned down to complement the vocals and the breakdown is a spacious arrangement of melodic tolls and groaning bass. The string pads lend some brightness to the mix, and offer a relatively subdued ending to the entire EP.
Actually, I rescind my previous statement of arguing I’m Aloud to be the best of the year – it is the best so far. Herobust has openely defied his own understanding of the “rules” and the resulting material has benefited in more ways than we can count. I’m Aloud is chocked full of fresh ideas with stellar execution, and nearly every track on this release is guaranteed to get some serious play throughout the year. Don’t sleep, swoop it here, and check out what Herobust has to say about the record – and yes, he spelled it wrong on purpose:
“I called this record I’m Aloud because, in creating it, I had to realize that I was allowed to break the rules. I just decided to forget what everybody else was doing and find my own wave. The resulting body of work is honest, original and generally weird as hell. I’m very proud of the EP and I hope it inspires other artists to get weird in their very own ways as well. Be allowed. Be aloud.”