Don’t let the intro of the title track for Virtual Reality, Tengu’s first solo multi-track since 2020’s Comin’ In Tough LP fool you. The light, lilting, slightly vintage synths drop into the Brighton producer’s trademark madness soon enough, and then it’s running basslines, crunchy synths and jumpy rollers from start to finish on his new Virtual Reality EP, out this week on Korsakov Music.
Tengu has always had an ability to combine light, ravey elements with dirty, heavy bass and neuro flourishes in a way that doesn’t sound hokey or try-hard, and Virtual Reality is no exception. The hookup with dancefloor imprint Korsakov Music is timely as well, as after Tengu released a track on the Dutch label’s Future Stars compilation last year that was wildly popular, it seemed only a matter of time before an EP was due. With summer festie season about to begin in earnest, these tracks are likely to see even more play, and rightfully so.
The ravey, Tron-like synths follow Virtual Reality through all its tracks, so it’s obvious there’s a theme here. On second track “Rayquaza” one might even call the synths so ravey that they’re progressive, that is until the second drop, where a chunky af synth takes over and pushes the track into epic dancefloor/neuro vibes. Seeing as it’s named after a similarly epic Pokémon, the progression of this track seems fitting. The EP’s closer “Cell”, by contrast, is all chunky synths and has a more ominous vibe than its predecessors. Perhaps signifying an epic VR battle, the script is flipped here a bit, with the synths sounding very modern but the drums and snares having a fun, starburst throwback vibe.
The title track to Virtual Reality is our YEDM premiere today and despite its very vintage, keys-from-Kyrie-by-Mr. Mister vibe, that balance between light and dark, sublime and heavy is present, with loads of interesting sine wave manipulation and ambient sound design that really introduces the theme of the EP nicely. The highs and bass flow together nicely here, and if we’re talking balance, it probably is the most balanced track. That means it’ll probably be the most played this summer, as it will mix well with loads of different styles and genres.
While all Tengu’s releases over the past few years (usually on Southampton UK label YosH) have this lovely balanced quality that works well with different mixes, it seems he’s dialing that style in even more lately, and it will likely serve him well. With Korsakov Music and its Future Stars series as a pretty decent predictor, fans can expect to see a lot more of Tengu in the coming months and years.
Virtual Reality drops this Friday, June 3 on Korsakov Music. Click here to pre-order or pre-save.