The latest EP from the Manila-based producer eludes easy genre categories
Words by Jam Pascual
I have been sleeping on AHJU$$I for too long. My bad. Better late than never.
Truth Has An Expiration Date is the sophomore EP of electronic producer and vClub Matryoshka co-owner AHJU$$I. It was released under international label HyperPop Collective and mastered by 60NICE (editor’s note: 60NICE is the New Jersey-based label founded by Filipino couple JP and Patis Del Mundo—who also frequent collaborators on Club Matryoshka’s virtual events). The eclectic background and credits behind Truth come together to form a project with an undoubtedly experimental edge, but “experimental” is an easy descriptor, and like truth itself, this EP is what it is because of its meticulously arranged moving parts.
Truth has a way of eluding the grasp of semiotically convenient terms like bop, jam or banger. AHJU$$I has a multi genre approach to production and composition—electronic, breakbeat, hardcore dance, and even industrial inflections ricochet off each other for an EP that vigorously clatters and two-steps.
The EP prepares you for this style of attack with the starting track “Wicked Problems,” a rager that starts off techno-esque and ends with a march of pummelling steel drums. “Bifurcation” picks up the pace with glitchy beats and melodic passages that get you singing along without you realizing it.
The energy only seems to escalate from there. A lot of records do track-by-track highs and lows for balance’s sake, but Truth decides instead to keep climbing, all while keeping things interesting with dynamics. “Chaos Theory” makes you wanna either bob your head or stomp wildly. Cheeky with its chopping and screwing, it takes sax riffs and clippings of vocal melisma and warps and snips them with abandon. “Constant of the Universe” is brazen, crashing headlong into budots for the hell of it. “Adjacent Possible” is my personal favourite in the EP—a song that’d play in the background in a dark world casino, with frenetic pianowork and shuffling rave beats, it sounds like a Fantastic Plastic Machine Luxury deep cut.
“Butterfly Tornado” is a hell of a clincher—not so much a comedown, but a gathering of the record’s energy into a focused ballad. Featuring the vocals of Hyperpop label mate Evan Higgins, piano and percussion come together in a way that’s almost orchestral while Higgins delivers with choir-like flair, to form a soundscape echoic and moving, despite its tight 1:53 runtime.
It is difficult to pinpoint a specific stylistic or thematic thread to Truth, but that’s part of the fun of it. There is the temptation to liken this EP to recent Weird Pop releases that get abrasive with its synths, but AHJU$$I manages to double-wield aggressive beatwork and smooth sounds, going hard and pulling back whenever it’s called for. It’s also no small achievement that AHJU$$I, working in a genre realm that relies mostly on repetition to get a groove in, manages to make most of the songs on Truth feel rhapsodic, with passages that play around without overstaying their welcome.
As for the idea of time, and the ephemeral nature of things? It’s heady stuff, but let’s try. Maybe the EP’s plunderphonic knack for composition speaks to how truth is often a sum of fragmented perceptions. Truth Has An Expiration Date is a chimera of sounds. Time as a feature of nature is also a kind of beast, one that moves with an unreadable will, guided by visions of the future that fluctuate and glitch. It does not move with us, we move with it. One would be advised to engage this EP in the same way, and allow oneself to be strung along by a thing that plays by its own rules.
Stream Truth Has An Expiration Date