- The latest release from Macro comes with a declaration that "techno's vanguard can be found in the east right now." The Berlin label recently put its money where its mouth is with a pair of EPs from the Russian producer Vladimir Dubyshkin, and now it's turning its attention to the Balkans. When you think of dance music and Bulgaria, one artist in particular may come to mind. There is something of the much-loved KiNK in Sofia's Roboknob, and not just because they're a live act—the duo's playful, full-blooded hardware sound recalls their countryman at his darkest. (The record's press release mentions his technoid side-project, Cyrillic.) But KiNK's music is, above all, fun. By contrast, Roboknob soundtrack the kind of weird, aggressive headtrip it takes weeks to recover from.
The highlight in this regard is "Dexydi," which opens the EP with a snarl. It's little more than a single noxious bass note, spitting corrosive gunk over a pummelling kick drum. (The EP was mixed by Macro co-owner Stefan Goldmann, so we have him to thank for the delicate balance between grot and dance floor punch.) Filtered noise washes add intensity, before the midpoint breakdown leaves a helter-skelter melody floating in uncomfortable silence. The rest of the EP steadily dials down the mood. "Spellbind" is more tense than outright aggressive, with a jelly-like bassline that adds oily funk to its squat groove. "Liulka" is a bit too subdued, but it's worth listening in for the spooky pinprick synths.