LA-born and currently Berlin-based DJ-producer Alland Byallo recently established Bad Animal, an independent label designed to showcase a highly personalized brand of house and techno music that's artful and experimental yet also strongly connected to the dance floor. On the imprint's third outing, Tragic Acid (which was created in San Francisco prior to the Berlin move), Byallo's firing on all cylinders on two fabulous originals, and the remixes by Varoslav, Gabbi Lopez, and Basic Soul Unit aren't bad either.
Animated by a slippery house chug and pulsating bass line, “Tragic Acid” proves ear-catching from its first tripped-out moment, but grows even more so as the moments tick by and the plot thickens. Atmosphere and intensity build methodically, with swirling synths and bleepy figures adding to the tune's ever-growing Dionysian vibe before a repeating vocal hook (“Yesterday has burned away”) brings the trippiness to a boil. A remix of same follows courtesy of Rue De Plaisance founder Varoslav that finds the original's house feel exchanged for a more straight-up techno groove, though one battered by an array of noise clatter and percussive flourishes. It's no match for Byallo's version, even if Varoslav, no fool he, wisely retains the vocal and threads it throughout his brain-addling treatment (in a digital exclusive remix, Londoner Gabbi Lopez gives “Tragic Acid” an additional go-round, this one a breezily swinging take that has its gaze firmly fixed on the dance floor).“What You're Told” hits even harder than “Tragic Acid” when a piledriving groove and dub-techno stabs provide ample fuel for its slamming attack. Mix in a soulful vocal hook and stir vigorously and you've got a tasty dish of bass-pumping skullduggery that roils for a breathless seven minutes. Byallo achieves a remarkably artful result in the way he weaves such disparate elements into a crisp, cohesive whole—a message not lost on Basic Soul Unit (Toronto-based Stuart Li) who brings a similar sensitivity to arrangement and flow in his own punchy and ultimately acidy makeover.