Published: November 28, 2012
By: Chris Schwarzkopf
One thing I can definitely say about VibeSquaD’s new EP is that it wastes no time. Aaron Holsteinwants listeners to know, in no uncertain terms, what the aim of Bionic Hijinks is: to get them on their feet. Coming in at a razor-thin 16:39 album length, the EP comes roaring right at listeners like the custom hot rod on its cover.
A lean, no-frills approach informs the four tracks, as well as an unexpected, but not unwelcome, ‘90s dance sensibility. Listening to Bionic Hijinks, I found myself reminiscing about early Crystal Method, John Digweed, Paul Oakenfold, Sasha and even pre-Keith Flint Prodigy.
In less than ten seconds, “Windshield Wiper” lays down a scintillating beat of squiggly, scratchy synths. The layered kick drum percussion drives home the retro dance vibe. The track also features freestyle lyricizing by Dirty MF out of Chicago.
“FuzzBuster” slams into the beats slightly less abruptly, but no less satisfyingly.This is the only one of the four tracks to have a true opening build. And what a build it is. Lurid, up-and-down synths plunge at 0:20 into an old-school hip-hop beatthat harkens back to Digital Underground or Kool Moe Dee, chock full of bass growls, squawks, and beeps.
“DirtNap” brings things down for a few minutes and gives listeners a chance to catch their breath.The track still serves up a quirky and colorful sound salad of warbles and trills and some funny little synth blips.
The danceable tone comes rushing back with “HeatSink,” which was released as a single back in August. This track brings it home with another old-school beat that seems on the verge of getting beyond control. One can picture Holstein laying into his deck, piling on scratches and glitches like mad.
Aaron Holstein is another example of the type of performer who can consistently produce the same quality of music and still offer something interesting with each new EP or full-length album. Plenty of music exists with a retro sound, but this sort of throwback to classic club and dance is a real rarity, and a real treat.