Bucharest based producer Liar has produced one of our favourite EPs of the year so far with this latest release on Infinite Machine. The aesthetics of his production clearly mirror the output of Night Slugs but he has taken this sound and warped it into his own, with gargantuan kick drums and intelligent sampling. This is his most club oriented release to date with rumbling bass which was made for a hefty speaker stack and tinges of pop influences yet his sound remains so far from the mainstream.
‘Hyper-Ego’ sets the EP off with anthemic female vocals and euphoric synth arpeggios before the pounding and jarring drums enter the mix. Liar has incorporated so many synth lines, percussive elements and samples into one track it is hard to keep up. Far eastern pan pipes, a screaming vocal in the distance, rolling hits and archetypal grime synth stabs are all brought in and out at various times.
On ‘Key Party’, there are more nods to older raving tropes with another soaring female vocal and a keytar riff. This track is slightly more stripped back and is particularly focused on the percussion, which is intricate and hard hitting. The EP also comes with a remix and an edit of this track. Foba’s remix gives the track a solid 4×4 kick and builds the track around the vocal sample. Surprisingly for a house remix, he has opted to incorporate some trap sounds. This gives the track a rolling percussive element which brings what would be a fairly standard house treatment into the slightly more esoteric realm which is fitting of the EP. However, the Spurz edit manages to take the track even further into the left field, with a rearrangement of the drums and a metallic acid line.
Further utilising Eastern influences, ‘Club Medz’ pairs a middle eastern synth with 808 percussion and a punishing kick drum, which has been rightly compared to a double bass pedal workout from a metal drummer. ‘Ha-REM’ is built on a solid foundation of drum breaks with layers of vocal stabs and soaring distorted synths. The VIP then takes a minimal approach with a continued focus on the drums.
‘The Ballad of Scorpio’ brings the EP to a close and almost serves as a palate cleanser. An 80s electro feel is present in the drum arrangement and particularly in the synths. Liar has kept some heavier elements in the mix by warping what would be a euphoric vocal into a low grumbling; managing to make exhortations to “move your body” sound menacing. This has allowed him to add variety to the release whilst maintaining the dark tone throughout.
Throughout this release, Liar has assimilated a deluge of different influences. From grime to industrial, europop to metal; it all seems to fit in but crucially he has managed to meld them seamlessly. This is true retro-futurism without any of the pretension which can sometimes come with it. This is a club ready collection of jaw dropping percussion and experimental aesthetics.
The EP is available for purchase here.
Written by Andy Brennan