While Maztek made his vision for his 0101 Music label quite clear when he launched the imprint late last year, it’s been interesting to watch how that vision has taken shape. 0101 was introduced mostly on the back of Maz’s giant Warpath LP, and since then the releases on the label have been largely Warpath-adjacent.
There have been signs here and there, however, of other artists releasing on the burgeoning label. As Warpath remixes came flowing forth from 0101 and Maztek himself released another EP called Uncoded, some other names and releases began to emerge. Alerstorm released his first solo EP on 0101 in June called Used to Say and another relative newcomer, Binary, released a couple of dirty singles called “Legion” and “Colony” in September.
Next on the docket as 0101 continues to ramp up it’s release schedule is Russian/Ukrainian duo Bad District, and it was definitely a good decision for Maztek to snap these guys up. It seems Maz is looking for artists with a different sound or edge and he’s stated that he wants to give artists releasing on his imprint as much creative freedom as they need, but with Bad District’s clean, fully-formed and bold-as-brass sound, it’s pretty clear putting reins on this duo would be the last thing any label smart head would deign to do.
With releases already on Bad Taste and Major League, some heads may already know about Bad District but Hyper Drone seems to be sending the duo into hyperspace. The title track launches right in, pulling no punches with a crunchy semi-automatic weapon of a synth over a surprisingly sparse, snare-driven and canned-sounding beat. The track is anything bus sparse, however, as a ton of samples and other synths fill up the ambient space and a phrase transition that sounds like it comes from the original Megaman keep the energy up on a track that’s already a dancefloor mind-melter.
“Charger” follows on the EP with more bass-driven, fire-spitting synths and growling phrase transitions, while “Lost Control” is sort of a chopped up mélange of techstep and jump up history, done up with some very modern syncopation and more metal-grinding synths. The EP closes with “Voodoo Hardware,” which sounds exactly as it’s titled: as if a sentient robot from the future found an old book on voodoo and decided to play around turning various production equipment into zombies. The synths on this one are huge and metallic yet again, but the integration with darkstep-style bass rhythms creates a whole new landscape for whatever he hell these guys are doing to our pre-frontal lobes with those synths.
The takeaway with Bad District is that it’s extremely surprising that they’re not absolutely wrecking the D&B charts by now and it’s thus extremely smart of Maztek to grab them on their way up. With clean production values and metal-melting synths on Hyper Drone and beyond, Bad District’s style is definitely right at home at 0101 and they’re definitely the hard D&B act to keep an eye on going into 2019.