“It’s not hip-hop, it’s electro… prick.” It was at this point - about twenty minutes into Shaun of the Dead, with Shaun and Ed popping and locking to Man Parrish at four in the morning - that I first became aware of this glorious genre. And as far as the modern electro game goes, DJ Stingray is at its top.
Heralded by Helena Hauff as her favourite DJ, Stingray’s 2012 strictly USB release Psyops for Dummies is rereleased as 2016’s Psyops for Dummies + Purge, out with an additional two tracks on its home of Lorenzo Senni’s Presto!? label. This unison makes perfect sense, the uncompromisingly sharp sonic stabs and warped synth waves on this quality EP well fitting on Senni's experimental imprint. It’s not a club focused piece, more a soundtrack for running through the twilight on streets of Coruscant, an exploration of an urban wasteland set in a sci-fi epic. Yet you could still imagine it slotting into a dark 6 am set that unnerves yet intrigues the rabble that is left on the dancefloor.
A theme running rampant in the EP are the introductions of layers of synth, highlighting the style and brilliance of Stingray. In Hypoalgesia, the dark, pulsating, bass-heavy undercurrent allows delightful scales to stroke over it, creating a powerful connection between darkness and light. The word Hypoalgesia itself denotes a decreased sensitivity to painful stimuli and, as these scales decrease the intensity of the bass, Stingray transforms this into sound. Alongside Cognitive Load Therapy - whose echoing chords jab over an ambient beat - these two additional tracks contribute to the Purge side of the EP.
What's left is the already brilliant Psyops for Dummies, consisting of dark electro thumper Disinformation and The Sadist III, whose vocals haunt over a minimal shoulder-shuffling beat. The other two - Strategy of Tension and Fullbodyscan - are both jumpy at their raised BPMs.
Most stores have run out of this gem of an EP on wax and it’s no wonder why. I’m sure you’ll join me in hunting down the last few. Maybe Shaun and Ed have bought them all…
Words: Tai Kolade