With the spooky, droney first drop of “Purpen” on Halogenix’s new six-track EP Lordel, listeners will know pretty much instantly they’re not in D&B territory. While he’s had sniffs of halftime since leaving Ivy Lab early last year like the funky “Trouble” on 1985’s Edition 2 compilation and the stunning, video game-inspired “I’m an Adult” collab with Sam Binga, it was a bit uncertain if Halogenix was planning to stay largely 174. Now the question is answered and it’s none too soon.
Designed to introduce listeners to his newly minted Lordel moniker, the eponymous Lordel EP has lashings of halftime and trap, Halogenix and releasing label Deadbeats have tagged the EP as leftfield bass and that’s probably more accurate. The tempos are all over the place, ranging from a steppy 140 in “Purpen” down to 85 with “Wolf.” The beat structures are similarly all over the place, with a strong funk component in most of the tracks. Just because there’s a funk beat structure, however, doesn’t mean there’s not much more to these tracks.
Despite the groove in their beats, the tracks on Lordel could be more easily classed as experimental in terms of vibe. Halogenix plays around with synths and distortion a lot on this release. “Wolf,” for example, has layers upon layers of synths from the foreground on back to the most ambient spaces in the stems. The melody is eerie and weird and the track has quite a long interlude that is nothing but synth play. “Bollo,” meanwhile, sees its synths and sound design follow the funk trajectory a little more but still with lots of changeups and experimental inserts. It’s sort of an aggregated Hudson Mohawke style, where bounce meets unstructured.
“Chipset” is the track on this EP that will remind fans of Ivy Lab the most, with crunchy, grinding synths and mini vox samples that darken the track’s vibe. It’s the album opener “Purpen” and the last two tracks “Ennui” and “Philly to Pittsburgh” which are the most “leftfield,” as it were. As previously stated, “Purpen” has a drone quality where the synths are heavy and extended but the action of the track happens more around the subtle sound design bits. “Ennui” is the most experimental-sounding of the bunch, with lots of throwback 80s-sounding synths and an interlude that’s straight out of Tangerine Dream. Finally to put a period on this extraordinary sentence, “Philly to Pittsburgh” is beatless, ambient and lush in a way not seen from Halogenix before.
With Lordel, Halogenix is not just declaring his intent to step back into slower bass music. As it’s unfair to class this EP as dubstep, halftime, trap or any of the bass genres he’s done before, this artist is putting fans on notice that things are and will be evolving past genres. Strap in.