F-Zero’s Smooth Energetic DNB Ride on “Maelstrom”


F-Zero hard at work performing a live set on laptop

Out now on netlabel NXTPhage is this 2-track single entlitled “Maelstrom” [Catalog number: NXT007] This is the brainchild of Manila-based drum-and-bass producer F-Zero (aka Michael Madriaga).

“Maelstrom” is all about the tension between laziness and hyperactivity. It pits a generic smooth jazz piano chord with a cutting sawtooth wave synth line and then constructs a two-step drum and bass pattern that alternates between going at full speed and laying about quietly at half-tempo during breakdowns. The end result is a track that’s 5:35 long but which you never want to end.

“Gravity” is slightly different in that it contains no tension between light and dark, instead it starts simply with a basic rhythm track before launching into the bowels of the earth with a fat squelching bass. The notes and textures are simple enough. But variation is added via a few changes in drum patterns and a shimmering synth buildup. It’s a driving, energetic track that throttles along with the accelerator pedal floored, but always in a smooth trajectory.

F-Zero’s building blocks are simple, but his genius lies in how he constructs his wickedly fast, but always smooth rollercoaster rides. Solid production skills and exploding beats are the icing on the cake.



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