Sounds like Zomby has been eating the rave candies recently, or maybe he’s just made a comeback from the dark emotions that inspired his album Dedication. Throughout his newest EP, Nothing, that mysterious diva bastard revisits a particular vocal sample, stretching it thin or packing it with a tinny vocoder sigh. The sample’s one word—a vaguely female and highly affected voice breathing “ecstasy”—is just about the only word on the EP, and it crops up in “Labyrinth,” “Sens” and (of course) “Ecstasy Versions.”
The sample fits in with the characteristics that distinguish Nothing from Dedication. The same guy who gave hollow, paranoid tracks emo names like “Black Orchid,” “Riding With Death” and “Things Fall Apart” was definitely at work behind Nothing, but he must have been in a more uptempo mood. As in Dedication, the tracks on Nothing are populated by blaring horns, rumbling sub-bass and laser-like beams of synth, but they don’t come together in the same haunting, empty way. Maybe it’s the lack of echoing chant-singing and beat-boxing.
Although Nothing seems somewhat more rave-minded rather than grave-minded, its tracks could easily be at home on Dedication. The sounds are distinctly and even generically Zomby-esque—even the track names sound familiar, as if Zomby has already made tracks called “Labyrinth” and “Trapdoor” in the past. But the producer does have a trick up his sleeve: a sudden, sometimes subtle change in tempo. The minute shifts in the first 20 seconds of “Digital Fractal” have the effect of making Zomby’s music eddy and surge and swirl dizzily. “Ecstasy Versions” is bolder about it: Several times Zomby swiftly kills one beat in favor of another without warning. His song progression is static, manic and as mutely thrilling as ever.