Over the past few weeks, Rezz has been building up hype for her album in different ways. We heard much of the album released as singles, as well as the announcement of a tour. News of the album came unexpectedly only a month before its release. It was titled Mass Manipulation and is relatively short for an LP at eight tracks. The first four songs on it followed a one-per-week release pattern during the month of July on each Friday. Now, the hype built has reached its peak and the album is finally here in full.
One lingering fear about the album I had was that it would feel more like a collection of material from Rezz than an album. I was able to dismiss this concern almost immediately after the first track during my first full listen. The songs transitioned smoothly from one to the next, with each earning its place as part of Mass Manipulation. I was also worried that on an album so short, there would be little to no room for experimentation. Again, listening gave me the opportunity to forget those thoughts and hear the new ideas Rezz was bringing to the table.
While the album is mostly solo work from Rezz herself, there are a few collaborations worth noting. ‘Premonition’ is a collab with Knodis and is one of my personal favorites from the album. Knodis is also a producer from Ontario and has a base in Toronto. He is very new to the game, with only one other release himself so far and a few hundred followers on Soundcloud. However, his solo effort is very much worth checking out as well if you’re into Rezz, and Knodis is certainly someone to look out for. The next collaboration on the album is the following track, ‘DRUGS!,’ and is a joint effort with 13. 13 is also a relatively new artist, with less than 2,000 followers on Soundcloud and three solo pieces available for free download. The producer is from Toronto as well and has a sound with definite influence from Rezz. The final collab on the album is with Kotek, who has a bit more material out than the others but makes entirely different music in terms of his style. Much of his music is future bass, glitch hop, or a hybrid of the two, but he has experimented with other genres. This is his first brush with Rezz’s style, but more notably her first brush with his. He hails from Nanaimo, B.C. and has done one remix of Nervo’s effort with Timmy Trumpet that landed on Monstercat.
Mass Manipulation begins with ‘Relax,’ a single we got the opportunity to hear in early July. It makes for an excellent introduction to the album’s journey with spoken words about relaxation in the context of hypnosis. The voice is calm and steady but strange and creepy as well, suiting Rezz and her tone perfectly. ‘Diluted Brains’ follows as ‘Relax’ goes out with a hypnotic, horror film-like sound. Unlike the former track, it’s entirely instrumental and goes at a slightly faster pace. It also seems to be one of the fan favorites from the album and maintains the theme of horror. Eerie melodies surround the drop, which is full of Rezz’s dark signature flavor. ‘Premonition’ has a more noticeably faster pace, and more electro vibes than the previous two singles. While arguably the least successful single, it remains the most impressive one to me with clear influence from Gesaffelstein to those familiar with him. The last single released was ‘DRUGS!,’ a song that does not take it easy on the bass. It brings the tempo back down significantly, with a consistent wobble throughout.
The first new song to audiences on the album is ‘LIVID,’ which slowly creeps the pace of the album back up. A solo piece that’s fully instrumental, its heavy synths seem to wander through a spiral whether it’s the drop or the break. ‘Green Gusher’ seems to be the follow up to ‘Purple Gusher,’ which was the highly successful intro track to her EP Something Wrong Here. The similarities are obvious, but the differences are clear as well, with more of the horror theme evident in ‘Green Gusher.’ It’s also notable that record scratching is used in this song, which is something more familiar to the hip-hop world. While scratching is sometimes done live in the EDM world by artists like A-Trak, it isn’t usually heard in electronic songs on their own. ‘Synesthesia’ slows things down again, with a steady deep bass rhythm on top of an equally steady kick. The final track ‘Ascension’ is also the most experimental one on the album. While at first, it has a familiar glitchy feel to Rezz listeners, later it turns to more future bass-like elements. Much of this more melodic sound likely comes from Kotek, but regardless it opens up more doors for Rezz and her sound in the future.
Rezz has done an excellent job with her first album, and I’m looking forward to whatever comes next from her. Her tour begins at Electric Zoo in NYC on September 2nd, where I hope to see her for the second time. Listen to the album below:
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