Bodem – Het Sonisch Besluit
This 12” by the hitherto unknown Bodem marks the second release on Delta Funktionen’s Radio Matrix imprint. With little else to go on, you can rest assured that the electro-techno style of the Dutch label boss has come to bear on the tracks and so if you were already a fan of that approach, there’s plenty to enjoy here. Quite simply, “Malfunktion” is a monstrous track with all those face-contorting qualities that make for true excitement in the rave, tempered just right so as to not become comical in its filthiness. There is of course a fine line to be trodden when dealing in sonic dirt; of course the most hyped-up EDM bass-weight juggernaut can be loaded with all kinds of studio fireworks to make the kids lose their shit, but to remain classy whilst getting nasty is not so simple.
That said, Bodem has nailed it admirably here, for the bass on “Malfunktion” is truly a slovenly treacle of low-end distortion that manages to be marvelously big and admirably clever. As the filter widens out on the growl so the snarling mid-range can be heard, it teeters on the brink of excess, but always stays just in control, just restrained enough to be devastating but not irritating. Around this pivotal sound a solid salvo of beats fall obediently in line. There’s no need to get too dramatic with the drums when the synths are so wild, but even so the scuffed quality to the snare feels like just the right kind of punch to cut through the wild frequencies. All that’s left to cap off a devastating club-wrecker is a gravelly robotic intonation, reminding you of the name of the track with a soulless insistence. It’s the icing on the cake in a track that feels in many ways like a nod to the seminal Hague sound, where sonic and social deviance go hand in hand and the machines are god.
Things are no less malevolent on “Hassle”, which lets a sizable dose of acid pour into the proceedings. Once again though it’s the bass synth that rules the day, pile-driving a most unfriendly sound into your guts and very gently teasing the filter and release to rearrange your innards. The 303 line makes things no more friendly either, and while the mid-section synth strings may try their best to appease the situation with some harmonious soul, it’s all too apparent that more of that devilishly good badness is just around the corner. The whipcrack drop that snaps the sinister tones back in is a masterful dancefloor baiting move that once again demonstrates the lack of corny histrionics needed to have a powerful effect on the crowd.
Music like this proves just how far you can push a few choice elements in appealing to that darker side of the dance. If you compare the way an early Metalheadz track managed intensity and moodiness without any of the brazen aggression of jump-up, or how Mala could be so heavy without resorting to lairy wobble bass, there is so much to be said for pushing things as far as you can but knowing where to draw the line. It’s an entirely subjective feeling; many might find these tracks extraneous in their use of distorted b-lines, but when you like the guttural sound, you can’t beat its effectiveness in the heat of the night.