What motivates us as human beings?” Zobol muses. Some might argue that the present day has produced a new culture of inefficiency and burn-out – a world where greedy landlords reign supreme, where broken bureaucracy flourishes and where people have become slaves to the system. But all is not lost. Hope sits on the horizon, and Jon Chmielewski is exploring the possibilities. For the 12th release on Welsh imprint Haŵs, the undeniably genius producer presents an electro EP that seeks to communicate something far bigger than himself.
‘Empathy Droid’s Lament’ is a cascading opener, quaking with all of the energy of a determined figure reaching into their reservoir for just one more push. ‘Rogue Landlord’ sits in a twilit world of ghostly melodies and swelling horns that cohabit with a dark restlessness at each other’s presence – but an irony lies in the harmony of the situation.
On the B-side, ‘R U OK?’ dilutes rippling synth lines with a bulky bass and inquisitive melodies, purging itself of emotions like a late-night spent soul-searching. For the closing remix, Reptant strips down and warps the original into fresh drum patterns, rupturing the rhythm into a storm of glitches, pops and perfectly sequenced percussion.
Zobol and Reptant are clearly on the same mission: to breathe life into the humdrum and start the road to recovery on the dancefloor. ‘Diminishing Returns’ posits an answer to its first question: that innovating with what we have is the way to overcome monotony, as well as reassuring that the collective pulse is still very much warm.