Boomkat Product Review:
On this weighty tape-only release, Shanghai's 33EMYBW sculpts bass-heavy footwork and club rhythms into sparse, polyrhythmic shapes on the first side, then switches modes on the second, using traditional percussion and vocal cycles to evoke ritualistic gusts that transport the ancient world into the far future.
The lengthy cassette-only release functions as two 30-minute mixed albums, the first looped loosely into the club continuum and the second excavating more abstract landscapes. Both sides have certain thematic harmonies, each exploring different sides of 33EMYBW's musical identity. 'Symbiosis Codes' on the A side is a space for the producer to express her rhythmic dexterity, intersecting contemporary club models and percussive formations that suggest more traditional methodologies. In the first half, a loose footwork framework is reduced to a clipped stutter alongside trembling flutes in a way that sounds dynamic and urgent. Eventually, the bass references fall away, ceding space to sparkling FM bells and evocative woodblocks. She builds momentum until the rhythmic shards form into kinetic pulses, shifting into dancefloor vibrations that never fully align with the grid.
But it's 'Mandala' on the flip that has us shook. Using computer-controlled microtonal bells and chants, the set is divided into 4 parts, each representing the edges of a square and each featuring recordings made in Lhasa, Tibet, at Jokhang Monastery, Ramoche Monastery, a crossroads and a little teahouse. 33EMYBW constructs a cybernetic ritual that links with Far Eastern traditional music and experimental minimalism concurrently. At times, it sounds like a subterranean ritual from the distant past, formed into a long, morphing composition that doesn’t blind us with technical prowess or aesthetic symbolism.