Pixelord Supaplex EP
The latest offering from Pixelord (a.k.a. Alexey Devyanin), the four-track Supaplex EP, sounds as busy as the producer's release schedule. The Moscow resident has pumped out at least three records per year since 2010, and Supaplex marks his third release in 2012. The EP bursts out of the gate at a breakneck juke pace with the skittering track "Been Lookin'," and from there on out, Pixelord careens through cramped and paranoid moods with dark, bustling soundscapes, as if Devyanin was in a rush to show off a whole lot of sounds in the course of just a few songs.
The most troublesome word here is cramped, as the cuts on the Supaplex EP tend to sound overpopulated. It seems like there are noises flying out of every 16th note on "Been Lookin'" and "Paperball," the EP's other high-tempo offering, and even the slower songs are stacked with a jumble of sounds. It can sound a little overbearing and indulgent at times, as if Pixelord didn't know when to stop adding to the mix. "Paperball" is alive with the berserk energy of a million sounds jostling for attention: ticking hi-hats, several different gabbering vocal samples, laser zaps, manic bass tones, trickling water drops, and buzzing synths are all firing off at once. Even "Freeze The Star," which takes off at a relatively mellower tempo, is loud and crammed with brassy sounds that compete with one another, like coarse mechanical cranks and blasts of honking low end.
However, there are moments where Pixelord gives his tracks a little room to stretch out, particularly at the end of "Freeze The Star" and "Vibrate," where most of the track melts away to show off a few well-selected components. The cacophony of "Freeze The Star" buries a pleasant, pattering hand drum beat until the end, when most of the louder sounds melt away. "Vibrate," which builds from a dizzy and wobbling synth line not unlike that on Ramadanman's "Core," is the least packed song on the EP. The track isn't overbearing, as it instead builds into a headrush of oncoming synths, drum hits, and pointed notes before falling off into craters of bass with sharp water droplets and pockets of silence.
Despite all the hubbub on Supaplex, Pixelord never sounds out of control. His productions may be crowded and sound a bit overstuffed at times, but the beats are sturdy and the multitude of elements are stacked precisely. Even when "Been Lookin'" is raining with cascading arpeggios, lurching percussion, and strangled vocal samples, it sounds like the producer is stretching himself to his limit—one wrong move and the whole song would tumble down a cliff, but Pixelord never swerves off course. Even at a reckless, full-tilt sprint, he remains nimble and airtight.
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