Recommended: BD1982 – Iron Trees EP

BD1982 has always been in a league of his own, channeling diverse and disparate musical influences through a left-field creative filter to produce a finished product that is simultaneously exploratory yet cohesive, boundary-pushing but with a familiar feel. The producer, born Brian Durr, co-runs Japanese label Diskotopia – which has been behind incredible releases from Myakkah, Slackk, Mau’lin, Visionist, and label co-founder A Taut Line in the past year alone – and he’s also an integral member of the ever-impressive Seclusiasis crew alongside Starkey and Dev79. His latest offering Iron Trees is out now on B.YRSLF division, the French imprint that has become one of our go to sources for cutting edge sounds from fresh young producers. Spanning a colossal seven tracks and backed with two remixes, this EP is longer than many albums. And it may be more fitting to think of it as a lean album, considering the singular creative vision that courses through each of the original productions.

The title track opens the EP with some deep prehistoric jungle vibes mingled with beautifully arching synths reminiscent of the productions on Bambounou’s Alpha or Jam City’s Waterworx, but at a less hurried pace that fills the track with a warm, dream-like feeling. “Outside the Tunnel” follows closely in the footsteps of “Iron Trees,” with a sauntering rhythm and an infectious pan flute melody that should sound overdone at this point, but BD absolutely nails it. On “Cities,” he starts building up more kinetic energy by folding in hypnotic polyrhythms and a uniquely processed vocal sample that drives things forward. “Zero Hours” is where the EP really enters outright dance territory, grafting the gliding sci-fi synths and tribal percussion from the previous three tracks onto an R&B-tinged footwork template. This is definitely one of the standout tracks on the release, highlighting BD’s remarkable ability to stick to a thematic concept for an entire EP without just re-hashing the lead single. The pace is dialed back again for “BQE at 3am,” a persistent and fairly restrained track that brings some nice tech-house flair into the mix. Next up is “Just A Rhythm,” which finds BD in futurist dancehall territory, something that he’s explored on many of his previous outings. Glowing synth lines run in all directions on this one, offset by gun and police siren sound effects and clamorous grooves that capture dancehall’s sweaty energy in a somewhat oblique way. “This Much” closes out the original productions on Iron Trees in screwball fashion, flaunting a lopsided melody and a galloping rhythm that wouldn’t sound out of place in a Julio Bashmore track.

On the remix tip, Greeen Linez – the production duo consisting of A Taut Line and Hong Kong in the 60s – turn out a breezy roller disco reworking of “Outside the Tunnel” that sounds jarring after listening to over 30 minutes of BD’s originals. But make sure you give it a fair shot because it’s actually an impressive re-imagining of the original track – and besides, who doesn’t love a good disco bassline? French producer Qoso takes his remix in a completely different direction, flipping the sensual footwork vibes of “Zero Time” into a bleak, abrasive industrial stomper that’s a secret weapon in the making. There’s so much quality material on Iron Trees that’s just begging for repeat listens, so be sure to cop this one ASAP.

BD1982 – Iron Trees (B.YRSLF division) is out now.

Sam Billetdeaux