Hugo Massien – Where Your Body Begins

7.5

E-Beamz established a name for itself as the home of a bunch of funny-named lo-fi house artists. What seemed like one part of a trend that would (and did) wash away quickly, has now found a play within another niche, albeit a trendy one still: Breakbeat and rave-infused tunes. Hugo Massien adds his contribution with his third release on the label, Where Your Body Begins.

“Body” is a good cue because the six tracks are intended to make yours move. “Circles Going In” does without a kick, and instead makes a high-pitched synthy-melody the lead part. Slowly and melancholically lingering, it is bedded by bass tones with plenty of reverb. Both vibrate, with echoes jumping from one side to the other. Introspective in tone – a theme which runs throughout the EP.

The title track is driven by steady breakbeats with plenty of energy. Bright synth-stabs provide a nostalgic feel and imply a certain sadness. Yet, the heart of the track remains firmly punchy. Around halfway, a low drone-sound enters, which can only be described as “fat”. It spreads from its low timbre, immersing the rest of the track in its power.

“The Only Constant Is Change” has a similar coolness, but takes a step back. The kick of its broken beat sounds like it was directly informed by Shed – dry and punchy. A distant female vocal cut and synth-line glittering like stars somewhat impede the punchiness, however. Nevertheless, it’s an emotional big room track that still cuts through.

The decisive element in a nostalgic, ravey track can often be an acid line, panning and spiralling through all layers. However, Massien makes a more monotonous, central use of it in the instance of “Alien Shapes”. Here he places acid in a way that evokes early Daniel Avery records, and creates the most housey track on the EP.

The last track, “Faith In Chaos” combines everything we have heard throughout the other pieces – somewhere in a no-mans-land between harder cuts and calmer moments. The polarised EP demonstrates its true strengths when Massien takes it to either end of these extremes.