Blawan - Woke Up Right Handed

  • Is this Blawan's best record? It might be.
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  • Before he became the king of ultra-detailed modular techno, Blawan was doing some pretty unbelievable things with drums. Go back to "Fram" or "Bohla"—that stuff still sounds dextrous and four-dimensional to this day. And while Blawan's music remains top-shelf, there was something immensely satisfying about hearing him hark back to this era on "Under Belly," the first single from his new XL EP Woke Up Right Handed, for the first time. The lopsided rhythms, the what-the-fuck-is-that sound effects, the impossibly precarious house-of-cards arrangements. They were all back, and they sounded weirder and better than ever. It's as if Blawan took a time machine back to 2010, with all the new skills and knowledge he possesses now—truly the best of both worlds. One of the best things about "Under Belly," aside from its unusual and addictive mid-tempo swagger, is that it doesn't sound like anything of this world. The main melodic element could be a wheezing engine, or a ghostly choir sampled and chopped-up into a melody—and at some point you have to stop thinking about it and just enjoy it. The EP is full of odd sounds to sink your teeth into, like the gurgly "Gosk," whose immense bassline is the aural equivalent of moving mountains. On "No Rabbit No Life," the mucky lead flows like molten lava, full of jagged rock fragments and glowing embers. The two tracks that feature vocals are even more intriguing. "Blika" is downright scary, with a limping rhythm and an alien vocal that channels "Why They Hide Their Bodies Under My Garage." "Close The Cycle" approaches post-punk, its deadpan vocals ducking underneath a zig-zagging arpeggio that makes for the record's catchiest moment. The creativity here feels unlimited, and Blawan feels blissfully unmoored from the rules of techno. He's spent the last few years exploring every nook and cranny of the genre, making is, sometimes zany sounds while coloring within the lines. Woke Up Right Handed feels explosive in comparison, ripping up the rulebook and then haphazardly jamming things together. Every Blawan record in recent memory has been eye-opening, but this one is blinding in its brilliance, packaging everything great about each era of Blawan into five blissfully bizarre tracks.
  • Tracklist
      01. Blika 02. Under Belly 03. Close The Cycle 04. Gosk 05. No Rabbit No Life