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Onyros Dustin Krcatovich , October 8th, 2021 08:17

On this new EP, the Buenos Aires-based producer takes glitchy sound into less-explored, earthier landscapes

In my experience, there is precious little in the world of experimental electronic dance music that can be readily described as ‘earthy’. IDM, glitch, and the like are defined by technological alienation; even a group like Matmos, long famous for using queasily identifiable sounds, bend those sounds into new realities, rarely evoking anything one might call ‘natural’ or ‘ancient’.

On their new EP Onyros, Argentinian producer SÁCCEA makes music that is as modern and rhythmically imaginative as anything in the field, but they also manage to conjure a curiously primordial feeling. The skittery rhythms and massive bass hits are satisfying in the same way they’d be in any music of this ilk, but samples of traditional reed instruments and murky field recordings swirl the perimeter throughout, conjuring rainforest vistas well outside the norm for the genre. In other words, the landscapes still feel alien, but they’re perhaps more ‘time traveler landing in a 2099 rainforest oasis surrounded on all sides by techno-dystopia’ than they are ‘dropped headfirst into undulating seas of glitching colour webs and binary code’.

The tracks are heavily and cleverly layered, inviting dissection over repeated listens. The mood is at times imposing, as on opener ‘Bucle de Ensueño’, but it’s never monochromatic. ‘Desasosiego’ even slips into an ebullient pizzicato melody somewhere between forebears Prefuse 73 and Blevin Blectum, lightening the mood without sacrificing density. Even with all this density, none of the tracks feel overstuffed, and every sound deployed seems carefully considered.

There’s a slight whiff of new age in some of Onyros’s time-jumping sonics, at times vaguely recalling the manic ‘healing music’ of Boris Mourashkin. Yet Onyros doesn’t appear to have any of that genre’s pretences of practical utility: sure, it feels good, but this seems secondary – even incidental. It is sound for sound’s sake, which is oddly refreshing in a time when an increasing number of isolation-addled electronic musicians seem drawn to make their music into a purportedly healthy lifestyle accoutrement. One can see value in that, of course – we all need fucking help right now – but sometimes, being able to just geek out on a barrage of sounds is more than enough healing for one afternoon.