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On the West Side of the United States is a town that many are familiar with. It is perched precariously, nested in the knee of California, a bright gem jutting out of the land’s end. It is San Francisco, perhaps the most artistically prolific patch of land to ever boast a landmass of only 7 by 7 miles, and it is literally crawling with every kind of artist you can imagine, from the most complex minded beat makers to visionary painters whose brushes splash forth intricate images of sacred geometry and winged minions. Here, in San Francisco, where psychic beaches are combed day in and day out, it can be hard to sift through the sands and locate treasure, but there is one music label hell bent on locating diamonds in the rough, and they are known as MalLabel Music.
Veteran producer and DJ, El Diablo is the latest artist on the label to have been chosen by the divinely guided hand of label owner Mal Harper to showcase his unique brand of underground bass bangers, and the fruit of this labor is a perfectly gorgeous EP called ‘Devil In The Machine.’
From the opening lazer-bass-belting title track to the last seconds of the 6 track EP, ‘Devil in the Machine’ includes some of the most poignant and original sounds of 2011. Diablo has a signature aesthetic to his production that defies an easy label. His signature synth sound is a squelching formant infected rip tone, his sense of mid range is controlled and vibrant, avoiding completely the bro step midrange so heavily over-utilized in today’s dubstep bangers. His beats reflect a long time love affair with hip hop and break beat culture, and his use of crunchy distortion patches offer a nice juxtaposition.
Aside from Diablo’s highly original sonic narrative abilities, the remixers on the album are perhaps the strongest pull for the EP. One of the most successful producers of 2011’s highly varied landscape, Liquid Stranger, kicks down an utterly earth-shattering, robo-infused, hype-filled fix up of the title track that will kill any dance floor dead on contact. Next, the dynamic duo Megalodon craft a mix of Diablo’s ‘Ruffer Dan Dem’ that illustrate their absolute and undeniable talent for crafting infectious grooves that can get any ass to wiggle about. Also, teaming up with Diablo for a remix of 6Blocc’s ‘Kultcha’ (released earlier on MalLabel) is San Francisco’s own UFO!, a hard core veteran whose name should be well known to any aficionado of bass.
El Diablo’s ‘Devil In the Machine’ EP is not only a personal triumph for him, but irrefutable evidence that MalLabel Music has its finger directly on the jugular of dance music on the West Coast. In San Francisco, a virtual anthill of talented producers, one small grass roots crew, captained by the drive for sonic excellence, has a streak several years long of standout releases, and that crew is MalLabel.