Stockholm based Daniel Savio aka Kool DJ Dust is perhaps best known as the man who coined the term Skweee. The name, derived from squeezing wild sounds out of his Roland Alpha Juno synth is what the swedes call their bleepy blippy techno hip-hop hybrid. With his new self-titled release out on Dodpop, Savio manages to show maturity and restraint in a genre that was built on over-doing it.
My biggest criticism of 8-bit music has always been that the palette was too small. When every instrument is sampled off a game boy, it winds up sounding like it. Savio avoids this by striking a balance between lush production (you know, reverb), and upfront acid leads. It still sounds like Skweee, but the floor is a little heavier, the synths a bit creepier and the string parts more epic. Savio has always been forward thinking and generally funkier than some of his cohorts. The track, Inseminoid is a perfect example. With jagged syncopated synth arpeggiations, crunchy bass and trashcan drums, it wouldn’t be out of place on a Mr. Oizo album.
The album’s single, Revolt is built on Kraftwerk Robot stile bloops and a driving 16th beat electro high hat. On top of everything are metallic stabs and searing SID leads. The video is weird, dark and awesome.
Voice of the Voiceless is like Trans Europe Express’s fucked up brother that no one talks about. Let’s Split revs to a start with a Rad Racer engine sound before dropping into ethereal Yellow Magic Orchestra funk. The whole album owes equal debt to video game music and early techno and house. It’s Megaman meets Megatron Man. Hopefully Savio continues to push his music to darker places and defy the boundaries set by the genre that he helped create.