There was a time in my adolescence when I was discovering electronic music that genres and the lines that distinguished them almost didn’t exist. All that mattered was how fresh, how forward thinking tracks sounded rather than whether I thought they would fit into a certain type of set or worse, how cool they were. I suspect Nathan Jonson may have felt similarly, because his productions are typically imbued with this feeling that genres, their dividing lines and borders in general don’t just not exist, but are routinely ignored. His latest release is no different, and in that respect is like many of his previous releases, though when the similarities between your tracks are that all of the coloring in happens outside the lines it leaves a lot of room for disparities. Based on a familiar phrase uttered by Jonson’s girlfriend (and indeed countless numbers of them worldwide), Where Did You Just Go? aptly centers on the wandering attentions of Jonson’s musical mind.
Although only a teasing six tracks of what will be a full length album, the EP packs more ideas into it than most artists manage over several albums. Right from the start of opening track “Captivated Heart” Jonson makes it clear that if it’s samey, formulaic techno you’re after you’d best look elsewhere for it. The dusty, drum’n’bass styled breakbeat that emerges from a fairly straight forward beginning bears elements of acid funk, a genre used to cringe-worthy effectiveness by bands like the Crystal Method some fifteen or so years ago. In Jonson’s hands though, the use of these tropes sounds nothing but fresh. There are evidential ties between Jonson and his brother Mathew that come through in the melodies employed on tracks like “Cause I Love You” and “Closed Eyes.” Where Mathew’s tracks have a linear approach to them, Nathan adopts an anything-goes policy. The drum programming on “Closed Eyes” shows the Canadian producer at his deadly, twisted best. Throwing a complete library of percussion sounds into a blender and tapping the pulse button, Jonson deciphers some sense of order from the chaos, cleaning up the loose, jumbled tangle of sounds, then letting them settle again into unruly clusters. The bowel-shifting bass line he slots in is the nail on the coffin for anyone still trying to hold on to any sense of composure; such is its force that upon hearing it on a dance floor you’ll either be scurrying for the nearest safe place or completely losing your marbles.
The poly-synthetic, melodic intricacies of “Cause I Love You” cascade over an ecclesiastical organ sounds the most like one of his brother’s tracks and is also the most straight forward sounding of the EP, while “842 Colours” goes for the direct opposite effect, again grinding out a barrage of beats in a deranged, stilted manner, using cut out segments of sounds to form some semblance of melody. One thing Jonson achieves on each track here is keeping the listener guessing, but more than that he makes each track so unique and punchy they’ll take you to a place where you’ll no longer be subconsciously filing them away into preconceived categories. No, instead you’ll consciously wondering if you’re losing your fucking mind. With the EP teaser for Hrdvsion’s first proper full length album being this good, god only knows what else he has in store for us come the full release.