The backstory of Austrian producer Voljum is a novel one. He’s a 19-year-old classical pianist who produces electronic music in his spare time, and offers ghost production across several genres of music. He’s released six original tracks to date, and each one demonstrates extraordinarily advanced sound design. Little else is known about the producer beyond this, although perhaps more will come to light following the release of his first EP, Cyberglobe, which is available today through the experimental outlet VALE.
From some of his first singles like the raw neuro banger “The Basics”, listeners would be forgiven for missing the classical piano background. It’s easier to identify on Cyberglobe, through the breakdown on “Electric Forces” or the intro on the title track. The steppin’ bassline on this tune and shuffling drum pattern betray a jazz influence. The bassline continues to guide the song, but in no time the drums are replaced by a thick haltime hip-hop beat over which crushing neuro sound design descends. The melody here is clear and powerful, and a vocal sample rounds out the song by riffing about a “computerized world”. Indeed Voljum’s music could be part of the perfect soundtrack for such a world.
Cyberglobe finds Voljum becoming more comfortable with his songwriting and therefore able to take more risks and step away from some of the conventions that have grown around haltime and neuro music in the last two years. This is saying much, because his songwriting was already way out there. It still is, but here he leans more confidently on his melodies to carry the tune. He throws out nearly all convention during the second half of “Conceptual”. The EP also carries the producer’s first drum and bass tune, which is pleasing given that the rest of his catalog resembles halftime drum and bass. Hearing Voljum express himself at 173 beats-per-minute just feels right. The sonic landscape of this tune “Until the Last Breath” is as carefully calibrated as one would expect, full of razor sharp audio effects and envelopes and filters that flip on a dime to reveal new dimensions of bass synthesis.
Not only the willingness but the ability to experiment is part of Voljum’s appeal. He surely loves electronic music, but his deep training in classical piano probably affords him a refreshing approach that others who are more immersed in electronic may not have. That, in addition to some next-level innate talent, puts Voljum squarely on the cutting edge of broken beat electronic music. This Cyberglobe EP may demonstrate to audiences or to the producer himself that he’s here to stay, and that electronic music can be something more for him than a spare time activity.