There’s bass music that rattles your skull, and then there’s bass music that hypnotizes your mind. A master of both styles, longstanding Portland-based producer Eprom dips heavily into the more spell-binding side of the low-end spectrum via his new EP Aikon, premiering exclusively on Billboard Dance today (Nov. 13).
The five tracks on Aikon vary in age, with some created years ago and some, like the G Jones collaboration “Daemon Veil,” more freshly produced. (The duo made the track last summer in Eprom’s home studio, where all of the tracks on Aikon were brought to life.) The EP features three previously-released tracks alongside two new singles, with the songs altogether pushing bass music to its most minimalist and experimental.
“I’ve always been interested in how far you can push sounds and still have people dance to it,” the artist born Sander Dennis tells Billboard Dance. “I see those structures of build-ups and drops as useful tools, but something that can be played with and maybe discarded at a certain point. It’s like, how can you subvert those expectations and still have people engaged in it and not confused by it. That’s interesting to me.”
Much of Aikon emphasizes these explorations of pure sound design, with sparing beats and intermittent bass wobbles playing like deep space sonic sci-fi. The title of the EP relates to themes of both artificial intelligence and religious idolization, with the cover art — created by Dennis — nodding to these ideas.
A longstanding member of the West Coast bass scene, Dennis says that the influence of the internet has made it so West Coast bass is no longer defined by geography, with producers aound the world playing with the sound developed in cities from Los Angeles to Santa Cruz to San Francisco and up to Portland. Eprom will bring his far-out sounds to the dance music cruise Friendship, which sets sail this January. Beyond that, he plans to stay in the studio, seeing how far he can abstract his creations.
“People are capable of processing some really abstract rhythms,” he says, “so I want to keep pushing. I want to develop my own compositional sensibilities further and see how far I can take it.”