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Liar has flirted with club music throughout the entirety of his output – he’s touched on every conceivable genre and BPM, in the process accumulating quite the arsenal of trax that could warm up a rave, sustain it at peak time, or cool it down at 5 AM. But it’s always been an afterthought in the grand design of his shape-shifting auteur approach. With “Scorpio”, however, Liar intends to quit teasing the club and make her an honest woman.
That being said, his commitment is by no means monogamous. Not content to allow himself to be overly influenced by any particular sound that has graced his DJ sets over the past couple of years, he crossbreeds the exponential club innovations of Night Slugs in the wake of “Classical Curves”, the uncompromising vibrancy of the Parisian scene, and the escapism of the UK rave. Grime, jungle, ballroom, metal drumming, new wave, Eurodance, industrial, EBM, jock jams and the kitchen sink also inform the mélange. This is no mere pastiche reel, however. As an inherent geographical outlier, Liar is uniquely positioned to have a truly universal perspective on all the musical languages he incorporates, and he leverages this into an almost academic, yet highly personal oeuvre. Conceptually driven and titled by his ascendant zodiac sign, “Scorpio”, like its namesake, is probing, passionate, precise, powerful, and sometimes precarious.
Opener “Hyper-Ego” is equal parts grime tour-de-force, avant-pop, and machine music masterclass. The clap-happy formula and narcissistic aesthetic of Liar’s earlier “Alpha” beast is revisited and revised, diva house vox are cleverly repurposed, the production reins are held taut, and a resplendent, bleeding edge anthem emerges.
“Key Party” is a distilment of countless snippets of keygen music and General MIDI classics into a cohesive retrofuturist operetta, adorned with frenzied rave vox and Fairlight-era samples, all of it tethered to a brutalist techno/ballroom hybrid.
The cheekily-titled “Club Medz” is subtly elegiac in tone, serenading towards the balcony of drug culture from the terra firma of club culture. An 808 provides the rhythmic foundation atop which acoustic kicks pound away, seemingly affixed to a robotic metalhead drummer’s double pedal, while submerged strings relentlessly bellow and Middle Eastern Korg M1 licks provide the counterpoint.
The oriental flavor pervades well into “Ha-REM”, itself also a double pedal pounder. Starting of as a molecular deconstruction of “ha tracks”, it explicitly mourns the demise of their novelty via its pitched-ha-crash-marche-funèbre, before erupting into an almost peerless drum workout, only to segue into the most poignantly emotional moment of EP. Its VIP is wholly suprematist, stripping it to its bare bones, unearthing a bold and tenebrous club tool.
Closer “The Ballad of Scorpio” exists somewhere within the triangle of Detroit electro, world-beat and freestyle arena breaks. It is built around a vocoded stanza of one of Liar’s own poems - “Muzzled gun and hidden knife./Father’s milk and bits of coal./I am the evil in your life./I am the good inside your soul.” – which quite aptly sums up the spirit of the EP.
On the remix tip, Foba reworks “Key Party” into trapstyle house, injecting tribal NY groove and toning down the brutality. Conversely, Spurz ramps said brutality up to 11 for his acidic “Key Bump” club weapon edit.
An ode to past, a testament of the future, and a commentary on both, “Scorpio” is Liar’s present for the present. Raise your head if you believe.
Early support from Bok Bok (Night Slugs), SPF666 (Club Chemtrail) and Ra’s Al Fatale (Gang Fatale).
2. Key Party
3. Club Medz
5. Ha-REM VIP
6. Key Party (Foba Remix)
7. Key Party (Spurz ‘Key Bump’ Edit)
8. The Ballad of Scorpio
Written, produced and mastered by Liar.
Artwork by Andronis.