You heard the Boston-based producer Smigonaut become untethered on Oxidized Vol. 2, now prepare yourself for a visceral and intellectual music experience; Constructs EP, his most outstanding work to date.
"My big theme for the EP and the artwork [created by 5AM] was feeling like sometimes it’s you vs. the world, and how that can feel alienating especially when you try to defy conventional norms,” says Josh Kipersztok a.k.a. Smigonaut. “How many of these feelings are just based on social constructs?"
Having first heard him on collaborations with Jade Cicada, we’ve always known Smigonaut to possess exceptional production capabilities. Josh was recently promoted to the Quality Control Department of the award-winning production plug-in designers Izotope, so we trust his ear to say the least. In this instance, Smigonaut goes for the jugular with his sound design again and again, particularly on the title track “Constructs”. This was a tasty ID on Smigonaut's Tipper & Friends Mix, and it bangs even harder the second time around.
Every sound on the four-track EP is deliberate, defined, and delicious, be it a split-second crunch on “Pocket Drones”, oscillating sub-bass on “Double Life”, or the music box melody on the downtempo track “Anomolous”. The work is also exceptionally mastered, polished to pulse with a cerulean luster. Andy Widdecomb a.k.a. DeeZ performed the mastering on the first track “Pocket Drones”, and Sandy Finlayson a.k.a. Seppa is to be credited for the rest.
The Constructs EP is the most jammin’ example to date of that sound which makes Smigonaut special; propulsive and dirty left-field bass presented through melodious, jazzy songwriting. Hear this on “Double Life”, when the producer pulls the rug out from under a Saturday Night Fever-ish bassline and whimsical key lead to reveal a hyped-up wobbler. Josh played classical piano throughout his childhood and adolescence. He says he's "out of practice", but he clearly crafts his music with a fundamental understanding of note relationships.
Utilizing the emotive power of these note relationships within the context of electronic textures and timbres creates dramatic moments, as when an indulgent piano lick swaggers in on the heels of some absolute filth on “Constructs”. Where the music is so precise and mechanized, it is also so human, so dependent on feel. The high technicality would be hollow without the intuitive, emotional threads woven often with the piano. By the same token these catchy and accessible melodies wouldn’t strike nearly as hard without Josh’s reinforced electronic synthesis.
The prevalence of technology is hinted at across the work. “Pocket Drones” reminds us of “black mirror” or other such ominous nicknames for the smart phone. The turn of phrase conjures dystopian themes, particularly the concept of surveillance, and the album artwork syncs up with this thread.
From the subtle play of ideas, to the daring sound design, through the personal relevance for the artist all tied together by the alluring artwork, this is a magnum opus of sorts for Smigonaut. "The individual should not fear their own path even if it doesn’t follow the norms,” Josh says, again touching on the theme for his EP. In other words, being anomalous or different is not something to fear, but something to embrace. In his creative endeavors, Smigonaut has been faithful to this ethos. In this instance, it's led to his most outstanding and impressive work to date. Pick up Constructs here.