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Gábor Lázár
Source Noel Gardner , July 13th, 2020 07:35

Gábor Lázár gets low on fourth solo album, Source

All producers in that starkly contemporary electronic realm which contains Budapest’s Gábor Lázár, back here with his fourth solo album, live with a constant internal battle between their crowdpleasing and crowdchallenging sides. At least, I assume they do, as someone who merely enjoys this music and occasionally writes about it. Whether something that repositions the tropes of the dance diaspora in strange and unexpected ways – deconstructed club music, I feel dutybound to note that they call it – can still rock a party like its source material has never been my personal concern.

To hear segments of Lázár’s previous work, you might suspect it wasn’t his either: strafing metallic minimalism at the colder pole of even a label like The Death Of Rave, mightily impressive in its sound design but feeling like fodder for headphones foremost. Source is a different beast, albeit a continuation of markers laid down by 2018’s Unfold – which were themselves hinted at by The Neurobiology Of Moral Decision Making, a 2015 release in collaboration with Mark Fell. “All these tracks sound incredible on a club sound system,” say label Planet Mu on Source’s Bandcamp page, which is helpful of them. It’s perfectly believable, mind. Straight out of the blocks, with the album-opening title track, Lázár is employing bass to a unheard-of-for-him degree. Sporting a late-00s dubstep sense of self-inflation, this bass is equal parts clinical and lairy, undergirding icy swipes of synth and calculus-tuff drums.

‘Stream’ – all the titles are perfunctory one-word things like this; the Hungarian appears disinclined to express himself through such means – doesn’t actually segue from ‘Source’ but seems to share its DNA. It’s the drums that eventually dictate the mood here, though, shuffling with funk and steel while making one wonder if Lázár had submerged himself in vintage 2-step garage during the writing process. ‘Phase’ follows on from this again – the sequencing on this record is brutally slick – while tipping things into Lázár’s established realm, brainbox rave new blood like Rian Trainor and other producers with highly sharpened digital scissors. Beats rattle and skitter; basslines are junglist in spirit if not in wholly literal sound.

Before ‘Return’ – no beats, no bass, a primary-simple keyboard motif and Source’s closing track – there’s precious little slowing of the Lázár roll. ‘Excite’s ethereal synths are like something from the early 90s ambient/trance interzone, yet they frame a main riff that bubbles acidically and a supplementary one which saws and soars simultaneously with a freeness suggesting even the producer himself can’t lasso it. Thereafter, the three-strong run of ‘Focus’, ‘Effort’ and ‘Route’ whisks us unequivocally into the party zone, and not just one for lost-to-postmodernity droids in expensive black leisurewear with algorithms for brains. Respectively, these are another for the ‘bouncy electro acid’ ledger, its demonstrable sense of joy leavened by nocturnal bleeps and looming paranoia; frenetic chopped-up bass, thuddingly insistent but subtle in its modulated modes; and six minutes of top shelf fizz feeling more like a lost LFO joint than anything.

A lot of the discourse around this type of thing is basically reprised versions of the chat about IDM in the 1990s and beyond, where the spectre of dance music which was intentionally hard to dance to struck many as a self-defeating bougie indulgence. Even so, the genre produced plenty of legit heaters which burned through that logical gap and could be invoked by its defenders. Source is a hugely fun album that does much the same, breaks any stylistic chains and, yes, will doubtless sound incredible in a club.