Freeform bass maestro Sam Eckstein is having a standout year as Esseks, and hasn’t let off the gas in the slightest on his newest Broken Thought EP out on Wakaan.
Where his bizarre bass cut up close and personal on this year’s excellent “A Hole in the Fourth Wall” EP, “Broken Thought” finds Esseks fragmenting further into space-time, trailing ice and ectoplasm in his wake with a maniacal sense of rhythm.
Broken Thought Ep takes six chilling bounds through Esseks’ haunted, original production style. Like fellow Wakaan collaborator Space Jesus, Esseks knows when to build atmosphere and allow a track to wind and bend around a motif, and it makes for a textured, tense listen.
“Peephole” shows off that dynamic sense, puttering and chirping menacingly before rippling with a glowing green synth that’s downright wonderful. “Zig Zag” sounds like a weird bass march, with a backbeat you can’t help but nod to as it drags you through pitch-black alleys.
Perhaps it’s clumsy, but I always hear Super Mario World 16-bit sound trickery in an Esseks tune, like I was stumbling scared through the MIDI chiptunes of the ghost houses. This kind of nostalgic weirdness Esseks revels in, having sampled portions of “Adventure Time” earlier this year on single “Sad Face.”
Esseks nails that on “Mellow Drama,” our favorite track. Every phrase is layered and dastardly, clicking, glitching, and slipping like a zombie dragging his knuckles. Even after a dozen listens we’re impressed at just how many sounds are packed into this strange little song.
While we bark about daily banging on the floodgates for the inevitable Wakaan festival announcement, we’re glad to catch its individual artists moving at a fiercely creative clip. Esseks is definitely helping lead the pack with this delightfully spooky release.