MiniCoolBoyz new Intro EP on SCI+TEC Digital Audio is ambitious and unusual. Consider the five and half minute breakbeat preamble to the Original Mix of Intro (on the Extended Mix, it is seven minutes). In a world where everything seems to compete for your attention in ever more disruptive ways, it feels counterintuitive to stretch out a preface for so long.The Italian duo offer none of the standard techno explosions on Intro either. Instead they give us a slowly evolving and multi-layered electronic opus. It begins with a single vocal loop and a simple breakbeat. A warbled 303 line then appears, filtering up and down frequencies, as the Kraftwerk-esque breakbeat teases into a four-four rhythm every so often, for just a second, before switching back. As the acid line stretches further and further into the red, atmospheric crashes, sizzling synths, and 808 claps and toms warn of an impending destruction. There are hints of The Chemical Brothers or Leftfield in the music it is a raw sound, dark, and full of analog impurities and loose drums. The only constant is the pitched down vocal loop. It is a single, indecipherable word, that repeats over and over.On the Original Mix, the wait is barely doable. On the Extended Mix, it is excruciatingly enjoyable. When the rhythm eventually reaches the four-four track, it hits like a train.The four-to-the-floor section is dirty and heavy, demanding full attention thanks to a hard off-hat and continuous bass groove. The Original Mix plays out like that, dropping the main 303 sound to fulfill its opener destiny as the tracks title suggests. The Extended Mix goes much further. Holding onto the acid line over the drop, it continues to build in tension as it twists and turns, realizing ever more potent combinations. Nine minutes in, the track reaches a new, more energetic bass groove. Suddenly, were in the middle of a full on acid techno trip and its a real fist pumper. Like a rollercoaster out of control, it builds up and drops down unexpectedly, moving from druggy breakdown to slamming techno groove, to weird vocal corner, to bass monster all in one nasty cut. It keeps going and going, but it never once gets tired. All the more extraordinary, considering this mix is 16 minutes long.As if there wasnt enough drama on this EP already, the MiniCoolBoyz also offer us Mid. The track is, as youd expect, peak time. With an incessant drum roll in the background, the beats are solid and come quick. There is a pitched-down vocal similar to the one on Intro. The track flickers and pulsates with a high energy. Built around a series of breakdowns that ever-increase in theatrics, the final drop is particularly explosive. Similar in tone and atmosphere to MiniCoolBoyz SCI+TEC debut hit Rimmer Man, Mid is much closer to the Italians usual powerful techno bombs.The EPs final offering is Outro, a looped-up version of the four-to-the-floor groove from Intro. DJs who like to draw out their mixes will find it particularly fun to play with, thanks to its cycle of drum-driven mini breakdowns.
(Words: Terry Church)