An exciting newcomer arrives with an otherworldly experimental club track.
You don't often hear music that's genuinely different. New tracks generally reconfigure existing elements, offering a cosmetic twist on a familiar sound. When you do find something novel it's not always listenable—artists may be trying to drastically break with tradition, or they haven't figured out how to make their thing work yet. "Clord," by the mysterious Texan producer NNOA, is a rare treat, brimming with unusual ideas that make for delicious listening.
You know "Clord" is special within three seconds. There's a distorted sub-bass pulse, like something from an early Wiley beat, a crack of bright synth, some textural interference, and then, silence. That's not reverb or an echo that might suggest vacuous negative space. I mean two seconds of total silence. For half a minute the sound goes in and out, from loud dissonance to nothing, in a way that suggests your headphones—or brain—are broken. An abstract grime beat begins to build from percussive clicks processed to within an inch of their existence. It has an algorithmic sound you get from specialist software like Max, but this isn't just technical wizardry. There's a coherent musicality in the rhythm despite the stops and starts.
"Clord" comes with a remix from the label bosses, Santa Muerte. They nix the percussion and replace it, quite unexpectedly, with the galloping triplet rhythm of tribal guarachero, a rave genre popular in Northern Mexico. It's definitely provocative, a mash-up of alien sound design and Mexican rave music, but it may have been better to include another NNOA track. "Clord" is an incredibly strong introduction to a new producer on the scene, but it's only three minutes of audio. Hopefully it's just a peek at a larger body of work.