Review: 96 Back – Provisional Electronics

As Sheffield-born 96 Back gears up for his next release, Provisional Electronics, on Central Processing Unit, The Waveform Transmitter’s Léa Ben Saïd takes a listen to four dancefloor-ready electro weapons.

If you haven’t heard of him yet, you most definitely will really soon. 96 Back, aka Evan Majumdar-Swift, is a Leeds-based producer from Sheffield, and has been talked about more and more in recent months. This is particularly due to his upcoming release, Provisional Electronics, on Sheffield-based famous label, Central Processing Unit, and his Boiler Room appearance with Tryphème, Annie Hall, and CPSmith, but also thanks to his night Tilt-Shift. Among the people they have invited to play, no less than Overmono and Chromonautz, without forgetting their next night which has been organised in collaboration with Freerotation, and features the likes of Steevio & Suzybee, and Alex T, among others.

At only 18, 96 Back is the newest addition to the Northern electro scene, and his first EP assures it will definitely not be the last. The young producer presents four tracks definitely influenced by the music on which he was brought up, including bleep and bass, altogether creating an EP which leans more towards atmospheric electro.

The first thing I knew about 000 before listening to it is that Altern-8 compared it to Dissonance by Xon, and that this was a good thing. I can see that as, to me, it definitely sounds like a future classic. The acid bassline, the drum pattern, and the sub-bass overlapping, all create a dark atmosphere, but the catchiness of the tune takes over. 96 Back’s influences are definitely present in this, and you can easily imagine 000 rocking any dance floor.

Want to know what else we think? Take a peek at our Reviews, here.

The second track 050 is particularly intriguing. Heavily influenced by bass music, it includes elements from grime within an electro framework, layering vocals with electro bleeps. The bpm rises for this gritty churning electro number, and it would definitely stand up against any other peak-time track. The precision with which snares and throbs were put together confirms that nothing has been left to luck in this release.

085 is notably softer than the rest of the EP, albeit not that much slower than the rest. The melodic background makes it lean more towards liquid electro, with the high notes contributing to the overall structure, before overlapping them with a range of acidic notes which almost sound like lyrics. It reminds a lot of other releases on the label, confirming this EP could not have fitted anywhere better than on Central Processing Unit.

The last track, 100, can easily make you think of playing a video game. The use of 8-bit music throughout, superposed on an acidic bassline and electro slabs, keeps the listener’s attention right where it is needed for the duration of the track. This interesting use of sound make of this electro workout, my favourite track of the EP.

All in all, 96 Back’s Provisional Electronics sounds like an ode to Sheffield’s electronic music heritage, mastered by one of the founders of Warp Records himself, Rob Gordon, going back to the roots of the music which has put Sheffield on the map. Truly, 96 Back’s Provisional Electronics closes the Steel City circle brilliantly.

Provisional Electronics will be released on May 18th, but you can pre-order it on Central Processing Unit’s Bandcamp here. In the meantime, check out 100, below.

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