- Machinedrum's Vapor City, an album based on a fictional city that Travis Stewart visited in a dream, has grown into an interactive universe of shiny web interfaces, EPs and free downloads. The Fenris District is the latest bit to open for business. It's apparently where you'd find Vapor City's bars and nightclubs, so is full of trunk-rattling beats and hard-hitting dance music hybrids.
Though "Back Seat Ho" earned Stewart some flack for his accidental use of a DJ Clent sample without the footwork pioneer's permission, at 170 BPM it actually pulls away from the Chicago sound into harder, UK-influenced territory. The drums are as tightly wound as a halftime drum & bass banger, which gives the vocal a demented urgency. The track trades off the charm of Stewart's more fleet-footed work, but the brute functionalism is invigorating in its own way. Rustie lets the drums fall in crooked patterns on his remix. He recklessly piles on synths, but it runs into a dead end, ending before anything really happens.
"On My Mind" is an unclassifiable bass music mishmash. It coasts on polished reggae chords and occasionally floods the midrange with waves of 8-bit sound. "Neujack" sounds like a throwback to EPROM's "Regis Chillbin" (which Stewart remixed), touching on trap with its buckwild basslines and cascading drum samples. The EP's best moment is Sherwood & Pinch's remix of "Eyesdontlie." They take an already surrealist blur of sounds and embellish it with druggy effects, pulling the track in and out of focus enough to make you motion sick—and all at a 160 BPM.
A1 Back Seat Ho
A2 Back Seat Ho (Rustie Remix)
B1 On My Mind