Review: Desto – Makowrap EP

Hailing from Helsinki, Finland, Desto is one of those DJ/producers whose superb talent and deep credentials have, inexplicably, been under-recognized by broader audiences. With releases on Noppa and Ramp Recordings to his name, along with a strong following for his radio show and Slam It party series in Helsinki, he’s certainly an important figure in the international dance community. And now, with his new Makowrap EP due for a release next week on Amsterdam’s Rwina Records, he’s poised to garner even more attention for his colorful, spring-loaded brand of bass music.

“Makowrap” opens in an appreciably straightforward manner, with a tightly wound half-step rhythm laced with 8-bit shrapnel that lets you know what you’re in for over the course of the four-track EP. Throughout the rest of the track, the steady bass pulses antagonize a slinky, triumphant synth lead, while an ethereal, reverb-laden melody adds a nice layer of other-worldly depth. Percussive elements drawn from crunk and footwork are also strewn throughout the track, lending a fresh, modern perspective on the kind of sounds that artists like Joker and Starkey are known for. “Neptune” follows up the success of the title track with a similar underwater-meets-outer space soundscape, but with a much more restrained palette of sounds. The sub bass on this one is absolutely spot-on, with the perfect amount of weight to keep the shimmery arp patterns and squelchy synth outbursts from floating away into the ether. On the percussion side of things, “Neptune” is really sparse, dominated by an anvil of a kick drum that teams up with the bass to create a propulsive bounce that carries the track.

“Overkrookd” is arguably the most original track on the EP. Opening with the kind of scissor-stepping hi-hat syncopations characteristic of garage, the track mutates into a heavy handed, grime-influenced affair with frenetic energy that makes it the most peak-time oriented offering on the release. All of this is balanced nicely, if somewhat unexpectedly at times, by purple laser synths and warm bleeps that bubble up to the surface before bursting into a thick haze that lingers in the background. Also included with the release is “React,” a digital-only bonus track that finds Desto more in the 8-bit territory occupied by artists like Lazer Sword. It doesn’t bump in the same way the other three tracks do, but it’s a solid production that shows Desto’s diversity as a producer. While there are no remixes to be found, the strength of the original productions reinforces the mantra, “Not every track needs a remix.” Desto navigates confidently through a wide range of sonic territories while maintaining a heavy-hitting sensibility destined for dancefloor success, making the Makowrap EP a definite winner. And with forthcoming releases on Ramp and 502, he’s an artist to watch closely this year.

Desto – Makowrap EP – RWINA013 by rwina_records

Desto – React [Extra Digital] | Makowrap EP – RWINA013 by rwina_records

Desto – Makowrap EP (Rwina Records) is out July 4th.

Sam Billetdeaux

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