Piezo’s flair for shapeshifting rhythms, alien bass zaps and sizzling sound design is unparalleled. Over the past seven years or so, the Milan-based artist has gone from being a purveyor of dusty lo-fi beats and distorted dub techno to producing some of the most hi-def dancefloor experiments in the bizz. His EPs for Wisdom Teeth, 2019’s ‘Steady Can't Steady Can't Stay’ and 2022’s ‘LSD Superhero’, oscillate from psychedelic dembow and glitchy techno into aquatic downtempo and back. 2018’s two-tracker ‘The Mandrake / Tinned’ gurgles, crackles and chirrups with a cyborg stomp – splicing organic sounds with raw electricity.
On his new EP for East London’s Nervous Horizon label, ‘Cyclic Wavez’, he sets his sights more firmly on the dancefloor than ever before. The title track skips on a hyperkinetic pulse, punctuated with shards of melodic distortion; ‘Ottovolante’, with its galloping techno beat, feels like 2023’s answer to Rhyw’s ‘Honey Badger’; ‘Skinner’ is a slice of dizzying industrial dancehall; ‘Bbent’ chucks breaks, garage beats and space-age sonics into a blender at the EP’s peak, while ‘Zap-ism’ ends things in a flurry of scattershot drums and synthetic bleeps.
It’s an energy that’s carried through in his DJ sets, which twist and turn through genres and moods at a breakneck pace, but never at the expense of focus or impact. Falling into their tempo-surfing step is like watching an intricate fight sequence in a martial arts flick: you’ll have no idea how it came together, or even fully grasp what’s happening half the time, but you’ll be out of breath and dying for more by the end.
Piezo’s Selections give a glimpse of what you can expect: from genre-fusing gems and fast-paced club tools into half-time d&b and “emo-IDM gabber”, here are 10 secret weapons primed to send any dancefloor to a strange new realm.
“I’m not really into much half-time d&b these days, but I have to make an exception for this one: deep dark atmospherics and wobbles ideal for setting the pace at 160bpm. In one way or another, I’ve been playing these tunes in most of my sets, but I find the A2 particularly useful when switching to d&b tempo late-night.
“A no-frills up-tempo roller which makes you feel the speed. Perfect kick/sub ratio – it sounds so good on a system. I love pretty much everything Sun People has been putting out recently: such a guarantee for this style.”
“One of my favourite albums this year, and the remixes don’t disappoint either. This rework of ‘Lamella’ with MC Yallah is probably my favourite – perfect to give a twist to your footwork sets.”
“Great first compilation on a new label from Milan, run by my mates Aitch and Primordial Ooze (2/3 of my other project Cortex of Light). Hard to pick a favourite here, but if you wanna derail on a weird path mid-set, look no further than this collab between Reptilian Expo and Matteo Coffetti.”
“I’m a big fan of the Gorge style, and everything uptempo coming out from Japan in general. This 'Y.a.M.A' EP perfectly sums up what I look for in dance music: fun, percussive, off-kilter. Unstoppable.”
“Muscular, stripped-down Electribe jams from NPLGNN on Hundebiss records. Not much to say here: just heavy, heavy artillery.”
“Another great remix EP from a great album. Again, it’s so hard to pick a favourite, but this remix of ‘Black Kaveera’ from pq & Ekhe is the one I played out the most. That synth on the second half is pure bliss.”
“Davis is such a unique and unpredictable talent: in this tune they merge elements of techno, footwork and breaks into something super bouncy and funny, but also extremely odd. Such a great tool this one."
“Salamanda + Yushh is such a perfect combo. Zero chance this could have gone wrong, and indeed Jen managed to turn something beautiful and poetic into something even more beautiful and poetic. Close-your-eyes-late-night kinda business.”
“184bpm 4/4 kicks with super gentle pads and arpeggios that make you feel incredibly nostalgic. Like an emo-IDM gabber. Sounds like a joke, but that’s what this tune is. Baroque Sunburst is a top label by the way, you all should check it.