After a stunning opening set at Tipper & Friends New Orleans, Benjamin Roman (aka Benji Robot) is one rising bass music producer who we’ve been closely eyeing here at CE. Since beginning his career in 2017, he’s gained a quick reputation for his quality abstract sound design and one-of-a-kind musical arrangement. Specializing in glitch hop, left-field, IDM, and downtempo, Benji Robot’s music is powerful, emotional, and psychedelic.
Benji Robot is apart of a growing cohort of underground experimentalists under the Mean Mug Music umbrella, a talent agency, record label, and artist collective that is becoming a tastemaker in the underground bass community. Now, Benji Robot turns to the imprint to release his debut studio album, Sedona.
The 14-track project is a breathtaking bass-fueled downtempo journey through dreamlike landscapes, soft and gritty textures, soothing basslines, calming cadences and rhythms, and supercluster atmospheres. Benji Robot already showcased a good chunk of the LP during his opening Tipper set on downtempo night, with stand outs that include “The Deep End,” “Miles Away,” “The Forest at Night VIP,” “Double Helix,” “Ellipsis,” along with five more tracks.
Right off the bat, Sedona shoots listeners into the intergalactic void. When one hears the Joe Rogen sample on the LP’s opening track, “The Final Stage in Human Evolution,” they know they’re in for an outer worldly spaceship ride. By the album’s mid-point on the title track, “Sedona,” listeners will become paralyzed by the record’s world-influenced lead-up, gritty low end drops, and wholly immersive terrains.
“Ellipsis” follows immediately after, giving fans a chance to cool off from the LP’s intense mid-point. Benji builds a fully comfortable sonic space that bathes listeners in chiming chords, organic samples, and gentle solfeggio tones. It’s a grounding terrain with the occasional spacey synths to keep listeners lifted somewhere in the stratosphere. The track leads effortlessly into “Pebble Tossed,” which sounds a lot like the sequel track to “Ellipsis.”
As one of the more uptempo tracks on the album, “The Little Things” is an ascent into the beginning of the end as Benji brings the listener up to bring them down and out. With splashes of Bassnectar and Sound Tribe Sector 9, the record loops and builds with digitalized riffs, croaking synths, and the perfect confluence of steady beat and broken beat. The track then fades fluidly into “Safe In Sound.” Here is a steadily building tune that crafts a whole new realm of possibility for downtempo as it emerges with electro-inspired high hats and claps. Before long, those croaking synths come back in to remind listeners where they’ve been and where they are going.
As “Morning Tea” brings listeners into full submission and conscious appreciation, a sort of big picture awareness ensues. The track is marked by a subtle cinematic quality that feels both expansive and tiny. Lo-fi textures also give the track a air of nostalgia as Benji Robot brings his listeners to closure in gratitude and grace.
In the end, what Benji Robot has mustered up from conception to completion is an emboldened creative impulse come to life. The Sedona EP is communal and psychedelic, enlightening and complex, but above all else, accessible. Benji has set the bar high for his forthcoming musical sequel. He says he wants to tackle uptempo, but finds himself constructing another downtempo project. That’s a decision anyone would be completely okay with.
Educated in audio engineering in Los Angeles and based in Detroit, Benji presents eclectic Ableton Live performances, paired with turn tablist routines to create an improvisational/freestyle experience. His live experiences are the perfect mix of heavy and peaceful, while paying tribute to the old and the new pioneers of electronic music. Be sure to catch the visceral and hypnotic Benji Robot experience as he heads to Ann Arbor, Denver, and Columbus this spring. Tickets can be found here.
Stream Benji Robot’s 14-track Sedona LP below.
Photo credit: KL Photos.