A Journal Of The Dark Arts
Production Unit Xero’s first for Portland’s Reactionary is a perfect pleasure – it is exquisite and it leaves you wanting more. What more could you want?
So much of electronic music and culture happens in the margins, never making its way onto official albums or stages. In fact, you might say the “unofficial” byways are the main arteries of electronic music proper, with the most exciting and cutting-edge stuff coming out on singles, 12″s, pirate radio, DJ mixes, white labels, and through various disparate social media channels. In many ways, it’s where the real action happens, where a producer is free to spread their wings, experiment, and explore.
In light of this, in some regards an EP is the ultimate electronic format. It’s more cohesive than a single or some loose track while not needing to be as conceptually cohesive as a full album. The short length is prime for obsessive, repetitive listens, as well.
It’s a prime format for Portland’s Production Unit Xero, offering a tantalizing teaser of so much of what makes PUX so great – insane sound design, killer dancefloor instincts, an inherent sense of worldbuilding, and an anything goes attitude.
Combat Decker’s Handbook finds Production Unit Xero in cosmic jungle territory, which is glad tidings indeed as it’s a great look for the Portland producer.
As is almost always the case with Production Unit Xero, however, what you see is rarely all that you get. While each of Combat Decker’s Handbook‘s four tracks are built around galloping gyres of razor-sharp jungle beats, each is festooned with glittering details. Like the glittering 8-bit arpeggios on album opener and highlight “Dynrah’s Theme,” which is like watching a meteor shower of invincibility stars.
Or the doomed Tibetan horns that kick off “Synaptic Shock,” until the busy breakbeats kick in and hypnotize you with their dazzling complexity.
Although we love Production Unit Xero in all of his aspects, this recent pivot to intergalactic jungle/drill ‘n bass. He’s proving himself to be quite the adept junglist, which is great news for us as we’re massive jungle fans here at Forestpunk HQ. Which is the final reason we’re so bloody obsessed with this short ‘n sweet EP; it introduced us to Reactionary, fine purveyors of adventurous and experimental jungle, breakbeats, and drum ‘n bass from right here in Portland, Or.
It’s starting to look like we’re finally starting to get a nice little electronic scene going on here in PDX, which is perhaps the best news we’ve had this year!
Production Unit Xero – React 21: Combat Decker’s Handbook is out now on 3″ CD and digital download on Reactionary.
If you happen to be around Olympia, Wa. this weekend, don’t miss the opportunity to catch Production Unit Xero perform at the Cryptotropa Bar on 5.14.22 as part of Tarantella VIII. He’ll be performing with Amandroid, Velum, and Obsrvr.
421 4th Ave E, Olympia, WA