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EP Review: 81 Neutronz ‘Orion’

In the past few years, Electronic Dance Music (EDM) has become somewhat obsessed with “the drop,” shorthand for the moment when the beat drops out, and then kicks in again at a harder, more intense pace. The drop is now so central to mainstream dance music it has become a cliche. As happens when any stylistic cue becomes overused, there has been a growing backlash against what is now the norm in EDM, and on his new EP Orion, 81 Neutronz makes it very clear where he stands on the issue.

Known for his intense yet sophisticated live sets, 81 Neutronz has made a name for himself in both the New York and Colorado EDM scene, as an act who plays for the real music fans on the floor. More interested in the slow, deliberate build, the Ep’s 3 songs serve as a great sampler for his sound. Opener “Orion” follows a smooth wave of bubbly synth over a steady, tromping beat. “Circadia” builds to the hardest breaks of the three songs, meaty synths laid over a tight snap. Closing track “Wheel Of Carma” is the true standout, using patience, subtly, and (gasp!) dynamics, he writes a song that wouldn’t be out of place in a classic Squaresoft RPG, and somehow wraps it around a deliberate and forceful dance beat.

All forms of music are cyclical. Right now, EDM is reaching a drop burnout stage, where the intense and agitated influence of Dub Step has turned more into the new less. Taken as a whole, this three songs EP is an encouraging sign of the direction the scene may be heading, less aggressive and predictable patterns, and more sleek, determined composition.

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