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BTSM’s ‘Futuristic Thriller’ EP is both classic and forward-thinking, scantily clad and yet meticulously crafted [EP Review]

Black Tiger Sex Machine (BTSM) have certainly been around the block since first blasting into the burgeoning “EDM” scene of 2012. The Canadian trio’s signature sound was aggressively dark, heavy-hitting electro, while their live sets combined tracks, loops, drums, samples, and synths into an intense barrage of sound and visuals. Now the Kannibalen Records helmers—comprised of Marc-André Chagnon, Julien Maranda, and Patrick Barry—have released their Futuristic Thriller EP. The title comes from a mix series the group had for several years, complete with matching storylines, audio clips from sci-fi movies, and immersive sound mixing.

Together with their robotic tiger helmets, they bring an experience that is unmistakable. It’s an aesthetic that could be seen in their Futuristic Thriller Tour for how it created a movie experience with their visuals that matched their music. While the tour was partially postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the group says the EP itself was taken partly from their former mix series and partially from their most recent tour.

“We’ve always been inspired by cyberpunk universes like Blade Runner, Mad Max and Akira,” BTSM shared with Forbes on the inspiration behind the EP. “Since the beginning of BTSM and Kannibalen, we’ve slowly built up our own storylines, characters, and universe.”

In a classic BTSM-vein, the 8-track project boasts an aggressive bass beat that harken themselves back to the group’s original sound. Yet, the EP tackles a new, free-form style of bass music that has been capturing the electronic dance music world as of recent. Take BTSM’s collaboration with ATLiens, “Frequencies,” which centers around ominous tones and heavy, halftime drops, a true trademark of their Atlanta-based protégés. Or the other previously released track with another rising bass star, Blanke, and one can really see the new directions BTSM is clearly comfortable taking with genre and form.

Couple that with electro dancefloor heaters like “Nobody Wants You,” which pulls on Daft Punk, the progressive jaunt, “Strange Creatures,” which leans heavily into psytrance half-way through, or the heavy dubstep, metalcore-leaning closer, “KILL ZONE,” and what one has is a project that spans the full spectrum of EDM sounds.

Make no mistake, though, that this isn’t some rampant, random sampling. In true-BTSM style, it’s done in a way that works. Each track is so so strategically and meticulously placed along the full listening journey timeline that Futuristic Thriller almost feels like a movie score more than a short-form EP.

Future Thriller is now available for streaming through BTSM’s imprint, Kannibalen Records.