DeeZ and Smigonaut are two Boston-dwelling bass mages practiced largely in the crafts of halftime and glitch hop. In the past, the convergence of their sound waves on tracks like “Moonlit Excursions” and “Lost at Sea” has been revelatory. It’s also hinted at the potential for crossover between the two producers while boosting each individual’s signal into the other’s territory. Now, the inevitable has happened. The two have alchemized their labor into a single project and Street Ritual now blesses the world with Disruptor, the first release from the hilariously-named DeeZNauts. This EP - the 150th release from Street Ritual - is fittingly a testament to the evolving sounds of the next generation of electronic enthusiasts.
The title track plays largely to the Smigonaut sound, emphasizing a glitch hop rhythm and swagger, and plunking out a midi melody cobbled from snare rims. The fuzzy distortion on the midbass shines bright as a firm halftime presence. They create a funky time signature and squeeze these sounds into unpredictable shapes, pitches, and patterns. By contrast, the crowded cacophony in “Scale the Perimeter”, while frenetic, is a short-lived two minutes and 20 seconds of tightly-wound go-hard with no wonky side-trips. The track has a distinct DeeZ halftime feel, introducing heavier flow through furious drum breaks. Smigonaut’s influence is felt in the occasional Mario-sounding chiptune throwback.
The truly majestic fusion that illustrates the potential of DeeZNauts appears on lead-off single “Escape Pod”. The contemplative synth wanders through a dark and spacey halftime dub with a quickly shuffling snare pattern, while textural elements are brought to the fore. After ambience is built with wood percussion and echo chambers, the final third drops into a growling space engine that shifts gears and blasts the listener into a different headspace. This track, the most balanced of the bunch, tells its story well. “Observatory”, a collaboration with Hullabalo0, is the wildcard of Disruptor. It presents a smattering of lounging solos in keys and guitar, while a smoky crowd speaks leisurely over a reverb-dipped sax. The rhythm is almost an afterthought, a structure to prop up the smooth jazz experiment with sweet melodies to swim through while soft fuzz'n'pop moments resonate with a vinyl nostalgia.
With Disruptor, DeeZNauts establishes itself as a new force of bass magic, a stunning challenge to co-create your art with neighboring aesthetics, and a testament to the influence the pair of producers have on one another. This EP is a brilliantly curated listen that emphasizes every element of the combination in turn, speaking its story in a scant four tracks but wasting no time. Armed with a diverse spell book of new music and a name sure to elicit laughs when read off a lineup, DeeZ and Smigonaut declare here their continued commitment to the craft and culture.