Debukas might be a new name to enter the music scene, a quick google reveals just a remix of The Wild Beast and guest vocals on Simon Baker’s recent album, but he’s got a colourful and varied past.
Not many people can hold claim to being a teenage pop star, taking the Japanese charts by storm, signing to Grand Royal and hanging with The Beastie Boys.
More recently he has been residing in the UK electronic underground, releasing underground electro and techno influenced by Detroit greats such as Cybotron, UR and Direct Beat. His occasional forays overground have been due to his slick production skills being in demand from some high profile bands and producers.
Debukas is the first solo project where he has been able to blend his love of underground electronics, leftfield pop and more importantly showcase his superb vocals. The music is strongly informed by the original Chicago and Detroit sounds of Larry Heard and Carl Craig but equally classic electronics from the likes of Yello, Gino Soccio and Klein & MBO. His vocals come to the fore in soulful bursts of song, and also in the very fabric of the tracks as percussion, riffs, melodies and FX, making his music instantly recognisable but also totally original. A self confessed analogue freak, (check the youtube footage of his Model 500, Aaron Carl and Nitzer Ebb tributes) he creates a rich, warm sound, that can only come from years of knob twiddling on vintage synths, a sound most producers would give their right arms for, but the Debukas sound is only completed when the vocals enter the equation and make it something very special indeed. His sound may look overseas for some inspiration, but to me it could only have been born in the UK, following a rich tradition of quirky electronic songwriters from Thomas Dolby right through to Matthew Herbert.
His debut four track EP highlights his individual approach to song writing with the gorgeous, deep and moody ‘I Am Machinery’, a fitting title for a track where the human voice integrates seamlessly into the analogue electronics of the machines. ‘Pointers’ changes the mood and aims at the dancefloor, with strings and synths fully indebted to Detroit techno, but with a constant human touch from his jazzy scat cutting in and out of the heavy groove. ‘Some Days’ has the biggest sound on the ep with multiple vocal tracks layering over the crisp drums and pulsating synths. He’s combined his keen ear for melody and a firm grasp of the dancefloor for this track, making it many dj’s favourite on the ep due to a club friendly structure, yet striking originality.
‘Set Myself On Fire’ closes the EP at a mellow tempo, and can easily hypnotise the listener with its repetitive vocals, haunting whistles and sleazy beats.
This is only for the beginning for Debukas, these four tracks are just an introduction to one of the finest talents from the uk electronic underground.
Published: 9th May 2011