All Songs Considered Blog
6:35 pm
Wed June 20, 2012

The Drop: UZ Sets A Trap

Originally published on Wed June 20, 2012 6:59 pm

There's an overwhelming amount of electronic music available on the web, and every week a new crop emerges. Countless remixes, edits and mashups make their way through the web every day. It's a lot to sift through; everyone could use a little help.

The music I'm obsessed with this week is an EP called Trap S--- by a producer named UZ.

We don't know much about UZ — I spoke with him over email, but his alias was about all the guy would reveal about himself. The name of his EP is a profane piece of slang that the producer traces back to hip-hop.

"Trap music is the street music from [the] Southern states of America, stemming from the 'Trap' or drug market," he writes. "It's evolved to use a few specific samples & drum machines (Roland TR808) in the production"

UZ has picked a few elements from this tradition and spun it into something new. "I've been concentrating on simple & catchy, synthy, hard hitting TR808 drums beat & complex hihats patterns," he writes.

The song "Trap S--- V7," which you can hear here, has that busy rhythm section, but somehow it still feels stripped down. The song draws power from what it leaves out: there's no melody here, and where dubstep songs have super-active midrange and progressive house is laden with dramatic synths, UZ's music is simple. Employing a pinched electro-synth and a kick with a booming low end, "V7" is minimal and fierce.

UZ's EP will be released tomorrow on Jeffree's, a sub-label to Mad Decent, the label run by the DJ Diplo. "UZ tunes are drunken energy sub bass and cartoon horn stabs that make my stomach feel weird and my feet shuffle," Diplo writes.

As UZ himself notes, he isn't the only producer using the word "trap" to refer to his music: "There is a more instrumental & minimal club scene evolving right now that is putting a spin on the genre and [I] wanted to be part of it."

Trap music's relationship with what preceded it might not always be clear, but it's got a familiar energy about it. Raw and powerful, but with a laid back tempo, UZ gives listeners a chance to slow down without losing momentum.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.