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Dr. Zygote may not be a familiar name but he’s been producing music in a number of different genres since he was 16 years old. He also runs the label’s Boot Records and Zoot Records both of which are established electronic music labels and he recent signed a deal with Eglo for a new project Strange U. “Grupo Zygote” is the first installment of Black Acre Records new Library Series which celebrates and replicates classic library music from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. So that the album fit in with this theme, Dr. Zygote decided to use all analogue equipment to play and record the songs on the album and used no samples in its production.

The album opens with the mains hum of ‘Alexandria (Mediterranean, Arabesque, Transient)’ . The track swiftly opens out with piano chords  are stabbed over the top of a shaken tambourine and then a breakbeat drops complete a with sharp snare. A piano melody comes in and feels both Arabic and jazzy. The track has a soundtrack vibe recalling a spy film or thriller set in the Middle East. Next up is ‘Beirut Dub (Lazy, Detroit, Sci-fi)’ shakers and stabbed synth bass and bleeps start off this track with heavy drums playing out a solid hip-hop beat and the shaker providing the shuffle in the groove. An analogue style synth lead smothers the track in a Sci-fi melody that buzzes fiercely. There’s some great nice dub delay on the snare from 2 minutes in. ‘Dragon Chase (Tense, Pursuit, Spacey)’combines a jazz hip-hop beat with loads of ride cymbals with dub delay and synth FX ping off above a deep foreboding bass guitar line. A thick harmonic synth smothers the drums as the track progresses. The first half of the album finishes with ‘Raga (Modal, Eastern, Psychedelic)’ where a synth drone steadily rises out of the silence, followed by two digital sounding synth melodies and dub delay effects. It’s all underpinned by a steady minimal hip-hop beat. The has an Indian and psychedelic feel. An organ and slow broken up breakbeat kick in after 1 minute 30 seconds and add to the psychedelic but tense feel. Dr. Zygote again applies dub delay to the snare in the final quarter of the track, it’s a nice production touch.

‘Giallo (Suspense, Measured, Lurking)’ opens the second half with a deep bass guitar line plays out, dub delay echoes and tambourine shakes, a synth pitch FX rises and falls creating an arcs over the mix. a minimal steady hip-hop beat holds everything together with. Dr. Zygote utilises lots of space, depth and texture on this track. Two thirds of way through a crawling electric piano melody emerges and a high synth creates extra suspense.  The album’s penultimate track ‘Lunar Dub (Sombre, Islands, Chalice)’ mixes stabbed organ chords, dub drums and a synth/electric piano melody during its opening. Then a  bit crashed minimal synth melody enters. The track reminds me of Ghostface Killah and Adrian Younge “12 Reasons to Die” album formula but with dub elements thrown into the mix.

“Grupo Zygote” is a solid instrumental hip-hop/library music album that ticks a lot of boxes in terms of atmosphere and quality beats. It stands out from a lot of music that currently mines the influence of library music and vintage soundtracks by not just utilising obvious 70’s and 80’s synth music influences such as John Carpenter, Vangelis and Wendy Carlos. He does have some contemporaries in this field including Oh No, The Gaslamp Killer and Adrian Younge but has made an album that competes on a similar level to these peers. Stream and buy “Grupo Zygote” here.

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