Colombia isn’t the most obvious place for a new electro producer to emerge from, but it’s where Cute Heels aka Victor Lenis used to call home. Now based in Berlin (where else?) Lenis follows last year’s Spiritual album on Dark Entries with Nepotism, the second release on new Glasgow imprint Schrödinger’s Box. The Colombian artist is in good company on the label, with Andreas Gehm responsible for the label’s first record.
Like the most interesting modern electro producers, Lenis operates in a nebulous space, where influences and sounds collide. It’s no surprise then that Nepotism acts like a calling card for the genre’s increasing fragmentation. It starts with “Red Velvet”, a slow, drawn out track that combines the dense, enveloping textures of Tropic of Cancer with whip cracking percussion and doubled up beats. “Nepotism Structures (Club Mix)” is straighter and faster, but the remnants of Lenis’ interest in the obtuse remain and a murky bass and indistinct vocals accompany the track’s sparkling synths.
“Madam Counsellor” and “Cabaret Literal” see Lenis remain on the dance floor, albeit with a stripped back approach. Steely claps and linear rhythms support warped, acid-tinged bass tones to create tough club tracks that are reminiscent of early Hacker (who recently remixed Cute Heels). In particular, “Literal” stands out, resounding to the occasional noisy explosion.
In spite of these similarities, it seems that Lenis isn’t content to stay in one place for too long, and closing track “The Pulse (Sex Drive)” marks another shift in sound. Harder and harsher than anything that came before it, its warped, ebm-influenced rhythm is populated by eerie synth stabs and oppressive bass pulses. As it reaches the finale, the arrangement collapses into disarray, with the beats slipping in and out of time. It’s a fitting end to a release that neatly encapsulates contemporary electro’s unpredictable essence.
1. Red Velvet
2. Nepotism Structures (Club Mix)
3. Madame Counselor
4. Cabaret Literal
5. The Pulse (Sex Drive)