Released in early April, Death In The Cities EP is the first official release from Hamburg-based artist Bonzaii on the Decaying Spheres record label. It is an interesting album both sonically and in its production. Upon first listen, I wondered to myself how Bonzaii was creating the sounds I was hearing. Surprisingly, the entire album was created with the use of samples and recordings, rather than any type of synthesizer or instrument. The result is an EP that is both entrancing while also being slightly discomforting.
What really stood out about this album is the heavy low-end emphasis found on every single track. For many ambient albums, the bass is something of an afterthought. Perhaps there may be a bit of it added on to support the pads and harmony, but it rarely become the focus of the track. Bonzaii takes this convention and contradicts it considerably with the bass overtaking the other elements.
This low-end focus results in some very interesting compositions, one of my personal favorites happening halfway through the EP with "Eyes In The Water." This track creates an odd and slightly uncomfortable atmosphere with a rapid oscillation that seems to permeate the entire track. This effect takes what would be an otherwise smooth bass and pad and makes it feel a though it is warbling through existence precariously.
Bonzaii is also keen to use colorful distortion on some of his basses, as can be heard in both "Liturgy" and "Pillow Vortex." Both of these tracks start with a smooth low-end that becomes progressively more crunchy and distorted as it eventually overtakes the pads. These novel techniques are made all the more impressive when taken with the fact that these sounds are created entirely from sampled content.