For an aspiring producer, being offered the opportunity to perform remix duties for one of your idols is an honour rarely afforded to all but the best in the business. However, it’s rare that the result is just so damn good that those same idols turn right around to return the favour. After his roaring remix of 2018’s ‘Blame’, just is the case for Californian overachiever Tyler Marenyi, or NGHTMRE, to which enigmatic producer ZHU happily obliges in one of the year’s most unabashedly innovative tracks that is anything but inhibited.
Similar to previous ZHU collaborations with various bass artists, ‘Man’s First Inhibition’ shares it’s DNA much more closely with boisterous 2015 trap-centric Skrillex collaboration ‘Working For It’ than it does beloved deep-house debut original ‘Faded’, which along with numerous projects such as Marenyi’s 2019 ASAP Ferg joint ‘Redlight’, show both artists have a pedigree to be proud of.
True to form, the NGHTMARE-headed track takes the shape of a futuristic ‘Hybrid-Trap’ banger that does away with any trope or formula, whilst paying particular attention to the implementation of unique sound design. Industrial brass leads and FM bass mutations glitch and scream over hard-hitting metallic snares and rumbling impacts, but the star of the show here is the use of the widely panned wall of saw-wave chords introduced in the pre-chorus that intermittently seem to modulate and detune in and out of existence.
Whilst more so all staple’s of NGHTMRE’s production, we are also treated from time to time with the moody flourishes of dark bell-like arpeggios, ambiguous noise, and eclectic percussion typical of ZHU’s previous red-light drenched offerings, whom also lends to the track his signature Neo-noir-inspired falsetto musings. Rounding out the ensemble cast of contributions are the slick vocals of fresh faced Pittsburgh rapper Kidd Keem, who refreshingly helps to break up what could have easily had been a typical EDM arrangement with a verse in the bridge somewhat reminiscent of early Flume features.
With a huge number of collaborations under his belt and just as many tour dates set across North America this September with other household names Slander, Seven Lions, and many more, it’s quite easy to see not just how, buy why this producer is anything but reluctant in his quest to stir up the traditional EDM status quo.