I—and probably you, too—have been sleeping on Roman Zawodny. Thankfully, the local hard-tekno crusaders of Knightriders Inc. are thrusting the elite Seattle producer into our consciousnesses. The platform is a new series called The Reserve, which happens every fourth Thursday at Contour and launches on March 25. This free monthly will spotlight Seattle's overflowing stable of techno producers and DJs on a substantial sound system that can do justice to their big-room creations.
Zawodny has been booming on the Seattle underground electronic-music circuit for nearly two decades. His tracks have earned quality deck time with unimpeachable DJs like Derrick May, Carl Cox, Dave Clarke, and the Advent. It's easy to hear why: Zawodny creates maximalist, punishing, 4/4 monsters that are geared to shoot massive doses of adrenaline in dancers. These beefy, speedy slabs aren't subtle, but they are potently effective in instigating mass crowd movement and hysteria. Visit www.soundcloud.com/roman-zawodny for more enlightenment (check out "Freak Musique" for ultimate proof of Zawodny's powers of disorientation).
Former Seattle denizen Deceptikon (aka Zack Wright) now dwells in San Francisco, but he remains a well-liked figure in the Emerald City and often returns here to ply his finely crafted cuts. His new album, Mythology of the Metropolis (Daly City Records; www.dalycityrecords.com), is now available on the major digital retail sites and is selling like proverbial hot bytes.
Mythology of the Metropolis consists of 14 examples of crisp, vibrant, post-Dilla instrumental hiphop, with flashes of pretty IDM melodies and late-'00s bass wobble. Deceptikon keeps the head-nod factor high while wrenching out some interesting, exotic melodies. "Echolocation" genuflects to the Far East with its fluttering, quasi-Zen garden motif (à la Philip Glass in his Mishima soundtrack) set amid splatting, stalwart funk beats. "Indo Loops" also is riveting, with its distorted (presumably Indian) chant warbling over a sinuous synth drone, staunch Madlib-elous clapper beats, and furious, pitch-shifted tabla slaps. "The Fall of Humanity" majestically glides like 1977 Kraftwerk, while "Dissolving in Acid" lives up to its title, running crinkly Roland 303 squiggles through a dense thicket of kick-drum thump and toxic squalls of low-end pressure. "Broken Synthesizers" growls and bristles like a peak-time Cannibal Ox/El-P joint.
Along with similar works like Flying Lotus's Los Angeles, Mux Mool's Skulltaste, Nosaj Thing's Drift, and Free the Robots' Ctrl Alt Delete, Mythology of the Metropolis is mapping out a fertile field where IDM and dubstep's textural playfulness and extremity tampers with hiphop's rhythmic parameters, but without causing fissures in its essential funkiness. Exciting times, indeed.
Roman Zawodny performs Thurs March 25, Contour, 9 pm, free, 21+.