zenxienz is a new type of EDM producer, and his type of style is becoming more and more popular, especially when it comes to bass music. The L.A. artist was firmly rooted in experimental electronica a’la Tangerine Dream or Phillip Glass on his first album, Mind Sigh, but now with his new release, due out on August 4, is much more pinned down to EDM style. Brainforest is still highly experimental in terms of the melodies and samples, but its beats and basslines are heavily influenced by more recognizable EDM styles, like house, techno, halftime and trap.
The first single off of Brainforest is called “Missing California,” and while it has a number of beat structures and a sort of organized chaos-style opener, even this heavily sampled and classically arranged track has a main beat which it technically and listenably jungle. Once the madness of the synths parts, it’s a series of amen breaks which ground this track.
With the Your EDM exclusive premiere of “Illicit” zenxienz gets even deeper into what EDM audiences are looking for and follows in the new but exciting tradition of producers like Tsuruda, Ivy Lab and a multitude of artists in Europe who are pushing the envelope in trap, dubstep and halftime, pairing these versatile beats with increasingly experimental synths, sounds and genres to create a totally new and different listening experience.
While “Illicit” starts off with a sort of techy hip hop beat and some more of the classical-sounding synth arrangements for which xenxienz has come to be known, it quickly devolves into something deeper and heavier by way of a halftime/trap hybrid beat and some more funky basslines than those zenxienz fans have heretofore seen. The high-pitched pseudo-classical synths even take on a more funky, EDM-style sound to them in this track, making it one of the most danceable tracks on a really quite danceable album. Before “Illicit” is finished, zenxienz takes the tempo up to 160 for more jungle/drum and bass amens, in a strange twist that could only work on an experimental track such as “Illicit”. The outro of the track, as it were, toggles back and forth between this hyper-fast amen break loop and a much slower, almost trip hop beat before the artist combines the two until the end, where the terror bass synths wind the whole thing down. Good luck trying to mix this thing, DJs!
Brainforest and especially “Illicit” marks a next step in the evolution of experimental EDM, especially when it comes to bass music. Whether zenxienz intended it or not, he is now on the leading edge of this “weird EDM” movement, and hopefully that means he’ll help push the envelope towards even more crazy musical creations.