You are well excused if the name Barbarix doesn't ring a bell. Even though he's been active in the field of electronic music for quite some time now, Lucifer is only his first EP ever. He's been getting some well-deserved attention as a producer on the BCC, so even though his output has been limited to date, he's really no small fry. After his introduction on the Vortex compilation, Entity presents his first exclusive EP.
When Entity released Vortex, one of the first tracks that really caught my attention was Barbarix' Masicular. A track which showcased a very keen ear for beautiful melodies, gritty overlays and battling rhythms, combined in way that left every quality of the track intact. A very peculiar sound which needed confirming. Needless to say, I was quite pleased when Entity announced the upcoming EP.
Lucifer's Happy Hunting Ground is proof of Barbarix' broader qualities. Only Them Ghosts is reminiscent of Masicular, the remaining tracks bear a more introvert and subtle atmosphere. The EP opens with a remix of the title track. This might seem like an odd choice at first, but considering both versions a pretty obvious decision. The remix is pretty accessible (considering the label of course) and makes a good entry into the flow of the EP.
The LHHG remix is mostly rhythm-based and places a string of subdued breakcore rhythms and glitches over moody, etheric waves and melodies. It plays much like an AZ-Rotator track and will probably lure you in by its melodies and keep you hooked through the hectic pace. The original mix of the track is a different take on electronica, building on soundscapes and ambient structures. It's also the most filmic track on the EP, drawing a lot from music found in Westerns, borrowing a fair few samples and effects. It's Barbarix' genius that transcendents the genre and creates a track that stands very well on its own.
"suTv-eK" on the other hand draws more from IDM influences, keeping the rhythms going but toning them down a notch or two. The track features some soothing, immersive melodies and hides some nice samples in the fringes of the music. Whatever rhythm is there functions as a solid base for the melodies to flow, but never really takes the foreground. IDM as it should be, but in 2008 maybe a little outdated. Still a nice warm-up for the closing track of the EP.
The last entry on the EP is much in the same style as Masicular and not surprisingly my personal favorite. Even though the rhythmic structures are a pretty introvert, the melodies, glitchy samples and basslines are enjoyably in your face, creating a pretty emotive and outrageous track with actually very little. To top it off, the track also features some messed up vocals creating a pretty insane atmosphere which is own to Barbarix.
Even though there are only four tracks, the EP is pretty varied and demonstrates Barbarix' qualities. Them Ghosts is the track that best defines the unique style of the artist, the others tracks don't fail to impress but are less outspoken in the wide world of offbeat electronica. Barbarix found a good partner in Entity and his EP should feel right at home between the other releases of the label. A very solid release, which will hopefully lead to a full album showcasing a little more focus and leaving a bit more room for his own strengths.
The full EP can be downloaded for free on the Entity site.