LOW STOCK LEVEL
West Coast producer and sound system-murderer Eprom is back on Rwina for a second album, Halflife, which continues the producer's mad scientist approach to what makes a dancefloor move: synthesizing the warmth of vintage computer sounds, the energy of African rhythmic traditions (including modern evolutions such as Kwaito and Shangaan electro), the swagger of southern rap and the intricacy of pioneering electronic music from the likes of Richard Devine or Curtis Roads. The result is a heady melting pot, a unique sound that has some of the best DJs in the world -- Gaslamp Killer, Kutmah, D-Styles -- and the crowds -- always wanting more. Wasting no time, Eprom opens the album with a volley of tracks built to blow up sound systems and take heads off. "Center of the Sun," "Beasts of Babylon" and "Hurricane" all display the sheer brilliance of Eprom's mad scientist streak: a minimalist blend of low-slung rhythmic alchemy, ten-ton heavy bass and dark melodies more powerful than the soulless, over-the-top showboating that characterizes much of today's dance music. On the bouncy "Vogel," he revisits some of the melodic elements from the first album while "Super FX" and "Lost Levels" come across like 2013 dancefloor versions of a Final Fantasy soundtrack, introducing a focus on brighter melodies and variations. "Screwface" opens the second half of the album with more in-your-face brilliance as drums pound the bass bins into submission before "Machine Skin" rolls in with its hypnotic arpeggio to lead dancers around like a demented Pied Piper. "Pentatonic Dust" then provides a brief and blurry interlude before another trio of short tracks -- "Moisture," "Turtle Ride" and "Subroc" -- deliver a perfect blend of what's come before: mesmerizing melodies, energetic rhythms and chest-pounding sub-frequencies. The album closes with "Cloud Leanmixx," bringing the journey to an end by stripping back some of the energy and enveloping the listener in a warm blanket of synths and rolling drums.