Taking us back to our EDM album roots; DJ HEX has released the eleven-song beast, ‘Acid Trap’. A monument to the complexities of the mind, ‘Acid Trap’ is a complete maze of music. Heavy trance production and influence run through the veins of this work, to really bring out that mind-bending language that we come to understand through this music. Exclusively being defined by the technical melody and pattern production construct an elaborate mirage, which each listener experiences differently. The title ‘Acid Trap’ is fitting for this kaleidoscope of sound that brings the ear constant scenery change.
For a very abstract piece of work, ‘Acid Trap’ is organized and methodical. Though the middle has many complexities and diversions, the beginning and end are clear. ‘Intro’, by nature, brings ‘Acid Trap’ to life. The first moments of the album tune us into the strange scales, of which the rest of the album is weighed on.
After the calibration of the ear, ‘Visions’ tones in with a very warm feeling. The initial sound production hits a little like reggae and floats, ever so lightly, across the overcast skies of our minds. There is a very natural rise and fall to the track. The song seems to breathe while still introducing other tones and rhythms. It is grounding and comforting; it acknowledges the simplicity of just being alive.
‘Flow’ becomes an ironic track, because it is interupting of the flow set by the previous track. The hard scratches and harsh initial sound break the ties to the previous tack, in order to re-establish something new. The new flow of the track comes after the initial break, and it hits like an electronic lift. We are moving with energy and excitement, while still opening our eyes to the journey that is unfolding in front of us. The piano close of ‘Flow’ paves the path into darkness, as it anxiously hangs the last notes unresolved.
Waking in this mysterious darkness, ‘Blasting Off’ ups the bass and pace of the album. HEX and Lysergic drop us into an experimental facility of technology. We can feel the mechanics of the music that feel hardwired and driven. Around us, something is happening, though we may not be clear on what it is. This track continues to inspire discovery with the top line melody, yet this discovery seems to bring about more confusion and curiosity. We have crossed paths with something much more intimidating and intricate than our journey initially would have foreshadowed.
‘Pyramids’ emerges as a guiding light among our confusion. This track introduces a hypnotic pixelated harp, which feels homely and inviting. As we unravel the breadcrumbs back, we seem to stumble into this conflicted world. Darkness and light exist amongst this track, and we weave in and out of shadows and highlights. The track feels so smooth and uninterrupted. It brings about so much substance and contrast. HEX and Cloudboi create two forces that oppose, but tangle into something larger than either part. Something which we portal up out of, as the track beams out.
Teleported into another new experience, ‘Pixel Bump’ is a little slice of happiness. You can feel the 8-bit town of perfection around you. Everything feels like it is working in tandem. The happiness of the world floats in front of us, but we seem to take an interest in the cost of perfection. Unmasking the perfection, ‘Pixel Bump’, exposes there is a dark toll to keep things working. The dark bass that rumbles under the song is exposed and then swept back under the rug as we live in the happiness it maintains. This may sound strange but the track oddly portrayed Communism to us- perfection at a cost.
Song in and song out, we continually unfold the mind and discover all sorts of gems and trinkets. One of the prettiest and most polishes seems to be ‘Another World’. DJ HEX and king Dom make this track ring and bubble without bindings or ties. The track feels limitlessly expansive. It fills the space of our minds like bubbles, while the color of our minds changes. You can feel the warmth and light at the higher points of the track, and the darker cooler rumble of the bubbles, in the lower points. Like the other collaborations on the album, ‘Another World’ evokes strong sound contrast that melds to form something synonymous and different than both additions.
One of the wonkiest tracks on the album, which is perfectly outlined by its name: ‘Bass Burrito’. This track feels like if your final boss battle was to order Chipolte after taking an unhealthy amount of psychedelics. There is so much movement, intensity, low lights and highlights in this track. It slings around wonky bass like Chipolte and sour cream. ‘Bass Burrito’ perfectly enacts the battle in your mind between the angel on your shoulder and the devil. It is a track that has a lot of personality, while still seen through the melted scope of DJ HEX’s trance production.
Continuing to bring really prominent bass, DJ HEX presents us with ‘Redemtion’. Like many other tracks, the name ‘Redemption’ prefaces the sound very well. The track comes off as very aquatic sounding because there is a battle of buoyancy that is being played out. We feel weight pulling us down, but the track consistently fills us with the desire to move upward. The track traps us between the water’s surface and the ocean’s floor, as the high rhythms battle the very assertive bass tones. We experience perseverance audibly on this track- you can feel the reward of pushing through.
‘Metaphysical’ is the realization that our journey is coming to an end. The song is driven by a pattern that is carried out with a typewriter sound. It inspires us to visualize everything we have come through and experienced. We are getting caught up in the memory of the magic as we try to write down what we have brought out of our brains. Trying to do justice to the emotion brought by this experience. Illustrating what has changed since before we sifted through our minds.
‘Smoke’ enters hazily, and falls like a fog on the ocean. We feel a sense of peace in this song, as we gently come down from ‘Acid Trap’. It is mild and brings forward memory fragments of the ten previous tracks. It is not necessarily a happy tune, out of context. Yet in the context of ‘Acid Trap, ‘Smoke’ is a wonderfully content track. It leaves a smirk planted between your cheeks, as you feel enlivened.
‘Acid Trap’ comes down to the title as a true psychedelic experience. There is so much going on, and so much that is left to the listener to interpret. We want everyone to listen and listen again because DJ HEX truly did create something unique. We find ‘Acid Trap’ is best described by the vibecabulary term color-shifting Rubix cube:
A work that is constantly reinventing itself and never truly solved, because the meaning and the experience changes each listen- it moves around the initial goal or solution because it presents more each time.
DJ HEX made a massively complex album, which provides us with infinitely complex listens. We understand why he was so excited to release the project and look forward to what is next.
Until next time.