Bad Haz Techno Review 004 - Headless Horseman - ElezD
Welcome to our fourth Bad Haz Techno track review by Hegstraction and new guest reviewer, DJ/producer, Sam Kitt. This month we have an awesome release, Headless Horseman by American born DJ/producer, ElezD on F/4 Records. Based in California, his artist name is structured as EL (Human), EZ (is), and D (Divine). His background in music stems from school through performing arts - marching bands, musical theater, and dance classes. Around this time, he was also learning to DJ, leading to a residency at a club in San Diego. This was the stepping stone to more clubs and festivals throughout the US and Mexico, as well as most notably, the Amsterdam Dance Event. His track, Headless Horseman, has been supported by artists such as, Dax J, Sam Wolfe, Julian Meinke, Stiv Hey, Ilario Alicante, and more. ElezD has been playing various versions of this single in his live mixes as well as his shows. "This track includes captivating soundscapes, textured sound design, served with driving energy."
For this review, I'm joined by new guest reviewer, DJ/producer, Sam Kitt. If you would like, you can play the track here as you read the review:
H: "Hi Sam, welcome on board!"
SK: "Good to be here, mate."
H: "Alright, let's crack on. First off, I like how this track has quite a fresh sounding melody, as well as the usual dark stabs and hard kick of current techno."
SK: "Yeah, very interesting track. Lots of texture and synth shots to boot, keeping you guessing. Interested to see what it has coming next, though at times is a bit busy lacking a cohesive structure, for me. Depending on your taste this may be a bit too chaotic for you, but as well might be the right level of constant surprise to keep you interested as a listener."
H: "All the little stabs at the beginning build up nicely to the main melody coming in around 30 seconds in; that's the hook for me. The track has a nice, solid, thunking kick that doesn't overpower the melodies."
SK: "Yeah, the kick is thumpy and powerful, balanced well in the track, slightly showing signs of over-compression to my ears, but that also could be a production choice."
H: "Not feeling that much bass in this track, but enough from the kick, and I think that gives a lot of space for the textured light synths to shine."
SK: "The low end for me didn't have enough of a forward push to help drive the track along; its tail is a bit too bright in tone for my personal preference. But, partnered with the groovy bassline gives this track some decent swing and groove. Not something I personally would go with, but I know some people love a more groove based low end."
H: "Quite a few variations on percussion coming in at good intervals giving some pace and nice metallic edges."
SK: "Decent enough, standard techno patterns, but that was all the track needed with everything going on."
H: "Hard to discern any obvious pads; maybe some stab-like ones used in the background from time to time. Really love the large variety of similarly sounding synth stabs, and the lead synths in this arpeggio staccato style. Creates a very lively bright bouncy atmosphere, which is a lot of fun."
SK: "The doubled pluck synth coming through from 0:05 - love it! Really brings this uneasy tension throughout the track, with great tension, release and recall throughout the whole piece. The supersaws were decently composed and balanced into the track. Not too harsh, but not dull either. At points there was a bit too much synth work going on, decreasing the amount of clarity within certain sections, but was overall well put together."
H: "Those lead synths are full of texture, which the producer actually mentions with regard to sound design. And textures in music are a big thing for me personally, although it may sound strange to some; the idea that sounds make something physical that you can imagine and run your fingers along and touch. I talk about sounds you can bite with regard to my own music, haha. Anyway, here we've got quite intricate sound design; creating all these different little sounds with slight variations."
SK: "Choices of sound all fit together. Nothing out of place. Certain ideas in the track evolved well and kept interest going throughout."
H: "Some quite complex layering with all the stabs and short arp sequences."
SK: "Hit or miss during some sections. I really enjoyed some of the sections where it was a bit more stripped back, allowing the groove and the ideas to carry themselves. As the track became more climactic and chaotic, it began to get more difficult to discern certain ideas from one another."
H: "For me, it added to the lively bouncy atmosphere."
SK: "Yeah, very interesting idea and atmosphere, with an overall goofy (not in a bad way), yet groovy chaotic feel to it."
H: "There are some typical modern techno breakdowns, builds and drops, but what I really like is the way in which all the elements are ordered to create that bouncy vibe. There's a lot of repetition with slight differences that keep it interesting throughout."
SK: "The breakdown from 1:24 is executed well. Building of the right levels of tension, great snare roll, and a nice plucky synth to keep the tensive emotion going. With the first drop - decent! I would have personally preferred the removal of the percussive hits, just sticking to the kick, bass and saw stab. Extra clarity, and impact. Less is more sometimes."
H: "It was probably quite tricky getting all the little stabs and synth melodies right in the mix with their own space, but it all sounds great."
SK: "Mix sounded decent to me, though I might have appreciated more presence on some of the percussion, but nothing too notable."
H: "It's actually the loudest track so far that we've done a promotion with at -6.18 LUFS, but it all holds together well; a lot of punch and still dynamic."
SK: "Seemed fine to me."
H: "It's got a really lively bouncy vibe to it that is fun to dance to. In a set I'd want this somewhere between the intro and middle in a build up to something."
SK: "Overall, the track is well produced, with some solid ideas and production throughout. I would suggest possibly creating more clarity, more cohesiveness, in a well-driven track, but that's obviously my personal opinion on my flavour of techno."
H: "This was a great track to review, and I would recommend everyone check out more tracks from ElezD; I think he has a new one coming out quite soon. And, thanks for joining me Sam; what are you up to project or release-wise?"
H: "Sounds great. Looking forward to checking it out."
You can find Headless Horseman on the following links:
You can also find ElezD on social media:
Thank you for supporting Bad Haz Techno, and we look forward to bringing you more in-depth techno track reviews in 2022.