BackLeft Drops ‘Gene Driver’ EP: A Journey into the Dark Potential of Eugenics

BackLeft Drops ‘Gene Driver’ EP: A Journey into the Dark Potential of Eugenics


What does the future have in store? People have been wondering about this since the dawn of consciousness, and with each discovery the answers grow more and more harrowing. On April 22nd, Denver-based producer BackLeft posed this question in a novel way with the release of Gene Driver, his most recent EP, a sonic exploration of the potential perils awaiting us in the age of genetic engineering.


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The Man Behind The Music

Described as “a representation of the lucid dream-like state entered in moments of presence with music,” BackLeft, the brain child of Justin Douville, aims to “take listeners on a journey to the reaches of their imagination.”

Featured Photograph by Julien Deroeux

This past year, BackLeft shared the bill with artists like Duffrey, VCTRE, and Bread Winner, ending 2023 in NYC with Resonant Language. He played festivals like Infrasound and Firelights and had a headlining slot at Astral Echoes. From the studio, we saw the release of Decay Theory EP, the extraterrestrial Isolation Mix, and a collaborative single with Skinny Limbs, “In There.”

On April 25th, BackLeft shared the bill with Keota, Restraint, and more at Cervantes in Denver as part of our SHIFT Thursdays series. Dubbed ‘We Live in a Society,’ this show was curated by Keota with the mission of setting a new democratic example for the industry. Read more about the intent of this unique show here.

Featured Photograph by Ethan Klement

The EP

With Gene Driver, BackLeft drew a significant amount of inspiration from the book Upgrade by Blake Crouch, a work of science fiction on the fast track to becoming our reality. This EP guides us into a molecular maze of dark distorted bass frequencies that slither and pop with grace and surprise over fresh boom bap foundations, painting a world in the throes of superhuman eugenics.

These four tracks also showcase new leaps in BackLeft’s sound design, marking the next phase in a steady history of experimental lofi bangers that only seem to be getting crunchier. You’re going to want to meet this one front and center.

Featured Photograph by Ethan Klement

Let’s Get Molecular

The first track, “Prion,”  opens with a deep breath of helical whirrs, eerie synths, and scattered keys, shrinking and twirling down the slide of a DNA ribbon just before that first burst of bass lands you on your feet. This intrepid bounce sets the tempo for the rest of the track, full of ominous twists and turns, before fading back into the otherworldly soundscape from which it began.

“Deviation” starts with a rainy day jazz riff–piano, the light tap of a cymbal–followed by a buildup of spacey, industrial synth and a rippling drum beat. When the bass comes in, it’s heaving, warped, amphibian. This jaunty track lives right up to its namesake, keeping you on your toes till the end.

“Sensory Gate” takes its title from the brain’s ability to filter out irrelevant sensory input during cognition, blocking out excessive or repetitive stimuli to focus on specific sights, sounds, or thoughts. This track is structured with the wave-like effect of a Gravitron, building slow and vibratory and blasting off with eddies of low-end bass that glue you to the walls with eyes wide and teeth bared.

The final track, “Gene Driver,” starts off like the initial light of a revelation and mounts into slurpy oscillations. At first, everything is falling peacefully into place; the road is clear. By the time you realize what you’re getting into, though, you’re already in for the ride. There’s a comforting disorientation to this track akin to the EP’s greater vision. You find yourself barrelling alongside the complicated, ineluctable, and oftentimes alarming world of human ingenuity and scientific discovery.

Dive into the sonic cell structure of Gene Driver on SoundCloud, Bandcamp, or your favorite streaming service today, and make sure to check out the links below to keep up to date with show announcements and a fresh mix of collaborations from BackLeft and friends due to be released later this year.

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Featured Image: Ethan Klement

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