Between 2011's Simon & G-Funk EP and now, Canadian producer Monolithium has made giant strides in terms of the power and presentation of his work. Aligning himself more with his label's international roster of beatsmiths than any particular rising Canadian scene, the Bounce 4 Life EP finds the artist injecting more of his own personality into his production and making his best record to date in the process.
The EP's title track opens the record, and presents a hybrid form that is actually a bit misleading. Listening to "Bounce 4 Life," it's easy to get the impression that Monolithium's prodcutions solely aim to fuse the worlds of hyperspeed techno and urban bass music—the opening cut in particular sounds like an attempt to craft a "banger" of sorts by combining these worlds. The track offers up an unrelenting assemblage of perfectly placed skittering drums and tuned toms, which match up well with the song's juicy bassline; still, the vocal samples and quasi-garage chord progression are just a bit too easy.
That said, "Bounce 4 Life" appears to be just a surface-level teaser, one that simplifies Monolithium's formula in order to entice the listener to dig deeper into his dense sound. Of the original productions that follow, "Spiral Face" best highlights Monolithium's talents. Incorporating bits of 8-bit synths and a few of the other cheesier bits of modern production—tuned snare rolls, bit-crushed vocals, etc.—the song is still a robust bit of R&B-tinged, garage-indebted techno, somewhat reminiscent of Jacques Greene's Ready EP, but with less of a hardware touch. In some ways, the song is the EP's most sophisticated effort, coyly moving between half-time and full-time rhythms while seamlessly rolling out gorgeous arpeggiated melodies and sweeping chords in long-winded, immersive movements.
The trio of remixes from trap wunderkind Ryan Hemsworth, budding low-end champion KingThing, and Error Broadcast labelmate H-Sik are rendered mostly unnecessary by the strength of Monolithium's originals, but in the end, they do little to detract from the fact that Bounce 4 Life is one of the most convincing examples to point to when speaking of Monolithium's potential as a forward-thinking producer.