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1788-L’s sophomore ‘S Y N T H E T I C’ EP is a statement-making effort [EP REVIEW]

Hard to believe it’s been two years since 1788-L first broke onto the dance music scene with his grinding synth-led brand of midtempo bass. The event was Ultra Miami 2017 when REZZ took the Worldwide stage by surprise with their collaborative effort, “H E X.” A no-name bedroom producer who was catapulted to the global stage overnight, 1788-L became the industry’s next enigma with all the mystery and clout that would land him media spotlights, surprise festival slots, guest appearances alongside Zeds Dead, and eventually a label home in Deadbeats.

But, rest assured, this is one producer who is more than sheer hype. 1788-L is someone who, for many years, has been putting in the time and hard-fought hours to hone his precision. It’s a staunch fact that’s obvious in his crisp, clean, and heavily hypnotic productions. It’s also a fact that has led him to develop a rapidly growing fanbase in just a short time.

Flash forward to last August when 1788-L — whose true form identity is still very much a mystery to many, and he likes it that way, we suspect — would release his debut S E N T I E N C E EP via Deadbeats. The project would catapult the rising star onto a platform at massive national flagship electronic events, from Buku and Spring Awakening to Electric Zoo, Imagine, and Lost Lands — and the line-ups are just getting heated up for 2019. It also led to some rather highly-anticipated collaborations with the likes of Ekali, Tynan, and a looming one with Zeds Dead. After all, this is a guy who got his start as a low-profile collaborator.

Now 1788-L follows up his debut extended play with another carefully-planned, meticulously-crafted short form EP. It’s a statement-making effort—through and through. But what isn’t a statement coming from 1788-L these days? Whether it’s a banner flying over Miami during Ultra or his surprise debut headlining spot at Das Energi, this is one guy who’s got a masterful press team behind him.

Released via Deadbeats, the 4-track S Y N T H E T I C EP is a collaborative treasure trove, which not only speaks to 1788-L’s artistic humility in negotiating the sonic canvas but his ability to influence the sounds of others. Featured on the project are four collaborations with some up-and-coming producers in their own right: Slooze, Deathpact, totto, and Josh Pan.

From the Slooze-assisted title track in “S Y N T H E T I C” all the way up to the final track, “WICKED,” a highly-anticipated collaboration with Josh Pan, the entire EP is succinct and well formulated. More than anything else, it makes the statement that 1788-L is developing a sonic template all his own, devoid of any one genre specifically, but decisive in its midtempo, synth-heavy bass direction.

Take the already-released single, “M A L F U N K T,” with Deathpact, where the pair concoct a seismic landscape filled with crunching basslines and hard, grinding synths. Next, 1788-L moves the crowd into “O R G A N I C,” a track that is anything but what it’s title suggests. With elements that set up the song much like an Exicision lead-in, this totto-assisted track goes deep into mechanistic robotic depths that have come to form 1788-L’s personae as synthetic android organism. Rest assured, there are organic elements, which sound like robot beatles climbing up the wires that form 1788-L’s veins.

Coming in as the final track is the Josh Pan collaboration, “W I C K E D,” which was premiered at 1788-L’s Brownies & Lemonade debut in 2018. The track utilizes a haunting vocal line that drives its dark, forward momentum, along with foreboding melodies and glitched-out elements that give it a malfunctioning aura. The song’s drops are where the pay-off lays—heavy, immersive, and powerful. It’s a full-on immersion into the abyss.

Stream the full S Y N T H E T I C EP below, out now on Deadbeats.

Featured photo: Rukes