It's not easy to define Mat Zo anymore. The man that entered the scene as a trance music prodigy has grown into one of the most fearless producers in the game and his outspoken nature has made him a prolific figure in the EDM media as well. From numerous twitter beefs to his rants concerning ghost producers and industry drama, Mat Zo has always managed to generate excitement. Now with the release of his sophomore album, Self Assemble, Mat reminds us why he's gotten so far and highlights his sporadic, no rules style in a short, sweet, and satisfying package.
While the album at first glance doesn't seem to follow any specific narrative or theme, one could derive a meaning based on the cover art, which shows a human like figure trapped inside an isometric cube, that Self Assemble represents a pent up creative outburst against the formulaic, copycat industry he's been so vocally opposed to. The record's transitioning from orchestral electronica to chill future bass and main stage electro madness is not surprising for anyone whose followed Zo's entire catalog but as a listening experience makes for quite the ride. From the first explosive slam of shrieking synths from “The Enemy” to the swelling, wave of sound in the climax of “Too Late” you're taken through nearly every emotion found in modern dance music. Mats funky side, that was shown a bit in his previous album Damage Control, is completely uncensored in Daft Punkish, nu disco fashion with tracks “Sinful” and “Soulfood“. Mat also goes completely unhinged with bangers like “Ruffneck Bad Boy VIP” and “Lights Out”, both featuring massive, hyperactive bass and pounding vivacity. Its as if Mat's stating that anything they can do, he can do better, and it's quite convincing, especially when compared to hit tunes from other artists more dedicated to their certain styles. As far as trance is concerned, the only tune that comes remotely close to that sound is “Stereo No Aware”, with it's relentless driving rhythm and a hands high melody, though its far more reminiscent to a Kill The Noise track rather than his older Anjunabeats approach.
If the goal was to be free and unpredictable then Self Assemble succeeds with flying colors. It's Mat playing the mad scientist and concocting one crazy formula after another. Although it's over before you know it, it's something that can easily be revisited over and over again. As a jack of all trades Mat has taken his wide range of proficiencies and assembles them like a MMA fighter puts different disciplines together to achieve victory. Self Assemble is both stringently serious when it comes to its quality and attention to detail yet playfully experimental in spirit. Its Mat showing his seasoned technical prowess obtained over the years while regaining his youthful curiosity to look past false limitations and truly be imaginative.
- Too Late feat. Sinead Egan
- Ruffneck Bad Boy (VIP)
- Stereo No Aware
Overall – 8.5/10