From 2003-’04 I must have compiled thirty or forty cassette tapes worth of Cliqhop.fm and Merck Records radio streams in an attempt to learn what I could about the scene that was slowly birthing a new sound and the name I kept coming back to was Deceptikon.
The debut Lost Subject LP was a masterpiece of instrumental hip hop rhythms mixed over precisely-glitchy and melodic compositions on string instruments and synthesizers; ultimately creating perfect negative space and tunes traditional to no one genre or culture, yet cohesive as a whole and treating you to a full course meal.
In a time where the word “glitch-hop” was not a known genre and all we were left to describe this new music with was “IDM” or worse “Instrumental Hip Hop”, Dkon and basically all of Merck Records were cooking up something to bridge the genre gaps and cross the musical playing field. Today we are spoiled with how adaptable a genre like dubstep can be. It can choose to absorb whatever genre or style it touches and as long as it accommodates it’s few rough guidelines and gimmicks, actually pull it off and proceed to get Cowboys dancing with Indians. In Dkon’s case, it would be vastly unwise for would-be listeners not to acknowledge the long and loving relationship shared between hip hop and electronic music.
I received my copy of Mythology of the Metropolis 12” limited edition blue vinyl a few weeks ago and since then, have not been able to rest without wanting to share my enthusiasm with it. From start to finish, Deceptikon continues to display absolute finesse in the sonic kitchen. His delicious compositions of tight instrumental hip hop beats, layered with thick analog basslines, and topped with a garnish of sizzling arpeggiated synthesizers and vexing vocoder mumblings will have you and your subs begging for more as soon as your turntable finishes its plate.
“Kinyoubi” and “The Humans Return” are both musically engaging and build to smooth and foreboding crescendos of gated synth strings and distorted robot vocals. You are led gracefully, yet not without caution, into the ‘Metropolis’ that Deceptikon has left for you.
“Broken Synthesizers” immediately plunges us deep into a toxic pool of grimey basslines and 808 handclaps so that the build-up of the central beat straight blow-dries us clean and snaps our necks with the severe, head-nodding rhythm. There is also an official music video created by Godxiliary.com that will blast you to bits with its almost psychedelic use of analog feedback over glitched-out Star Wars clips (a must-see if you like to see your cake and hear it too!).
[wpaudio url=”http://email@example.com/wp-content/music/Deceptikon/Broken%20Synthesizers.mp3″ text=”Deceptikon – Broken Synthesizers”]
“Copy The Floppy” is instantly catchy and represents Dkon’s evolving sound; this track at once re-enforces his old school hip hop flavor while also propelling us forward into a stark sci-fi future where those traditional elements are met with a dancefloor-readiness and a familiar bass-wobbling that sits nicely with our current club attire. Friend and once-neighbor to Dkon, Portland Oregon’s Copy is credited on this track. And, knowing Copy’s sound very well, I can attest it is indeed partly his playfulness and giddy melody in this track that makes hot hipster girls lose it on the dancefloor everytime it is played.
Thankfully, Zack “Dkon” Wright has stayed his course and remained in the game. He may be slowly and slightly increasing the bpm over the years but I believe it has served him well and allowed for a subtle mutation and growth of listeners (and dancers!).
A limited edition, translucent blue vinyl 12” pressing off last March’s full-length album with the same name, Mythology of the Metropolis was co-released by Daly City Records and Tokyo Ghost Island and can still be purchased at deceptikon.net.