- What do you think of when you think of breakcore? Groove, funk and space probably don't come to mind right away, but Ed Flis' latest record, for Power Vacuum, has it all. Duran is the first Duran Duran Duran album since 2010's Over Hard, and a step back from that LP's aggression. In the seven years since, the Berlin-based American has busted open his once claustrophobic breakcore sound with an adventurous cross-genre attitude. Duran is a relentless yet dynamic LP that, despite its grinding textures, sludgy acid and frenetic sampling, never forgets breakcore's crucial ingredient: fun.
Squelching acid is a common sound on the LP, but, as shown by the frantic gabber of "Pryor Acid," or the 140 BPM techno of "Pearls And Strawberries," the album never sticks to one tempo or genre. Each track seems harder and weirder than the last. Flis uses everything from stand-up routines to roaring animal samples on Duran, a swarm of sounds and ideas that whizz by in a glorious blur.
When Flis strikes on something like conventional dance music, it doesn't stay that way for long. "Grillwalkers" is, in the context of Duran Duran Duran's catalogue, a restrained techno cut, but it's also faster than most techno DJs would play. The techno-leaning "Drug Life" has shades of other styles—dubbed-out hi-hat echoes, hoover synths somewhere between hardcore and hardstyle.
At the end of Duran, Flis revisits the sound of his breakcore past for the album's most intense section. "Untitled" is breakcore in slow motion, where you feel every scorched-earth drum, gravelly texture and speed fluctuation that much more. The old-school "Marathon Man," meanwhile, splices up breaks with a newfound deftness that Flis demonstrates throughout Duran. Both tracks show how much he's matured as a producer, just as the rest of the LP proves how the project has become more than just wacky breakcore. It's one of the craziest dance records you'll hear all year.
01. Thacid Under
02. Pearls And Strawberries
03. Pryor Acid
05. Drug Life
07. Street Trash
09. Marathon Man