Zadig’s latest EP, Silent Warrior is the fourth release on Italian record label KR3, which had a very strong 2020 with excellent releases from Takaaki Itoh and Steve Bicknell. 2021 is starting just as strong for the label, with Silent Warrior dealing up a fascinating selection of dark, deep cuts for the dancefloor, bookended with mood-setting ambient experiments.

The A-side begins with Vortex, which lives up to its name by drawing the listener deeper and deeper through a combination of hypnotic drones and an ominous siren. Once sparse percussion creeps in, the listener is fully enveloped in the mood of the release, perfectly leading into the rest of the EP. Silent Warrior is the centerpiece of side A, where relatively simplistic percussion is enriched with disorienting and constantly morphing synths, creating a tense, psychedelic atmosphere that leads to a very novel sound for techno as dark as this. At points reminiscent of Surgeon’s weirder modular experiments, yet clearly its own thing, it is the strongest track on the release. Silent Warrior is paired with a remix by Adriana Lopez, which ramps up the intensity of the drums while paring down the synths into an all-enveloping static, making for a more straight-forward, but more hard-hitting dancefloor variant of the track.

The B-side is focused around Portal 38, which slows down the tempo and goes for a more typical deep techno sound. Heavy-hitting kicks are paired with rushing hi-hats while a growling synth adds a layer of grit that fills out the body of the track. Also included is a remix by Mod21 that takes the track to even deeper places, submerging the kicks while not diminishing the low-end and adding a persistent synth recalling a sonar pulse calling out to the depths. As the track progresses, rumbles appear in the distance calling to mind mysterious deep-sea creatures tracking the signal. The B-side closes with Time 0, a beatless piece that is there to take the listener out of the vortex in which the EP has submerged us. Clearly intended as a counter-piece to the intro, a positive and melodic spin has given to similar musical ideas, bringing daylight back and closing off the release on an uplifting note.

Zadig has dedicated Silent Warrior to the memory of a close friend, and used that as a stepping point to give us a multi-faceted look into the possible sounds of deep techno. Both of the tracks here along with their remixes manage to sound very distinct while remaining consistent in their hypnotic atmosphere. Another excellent release from KR3 and Zadig that will be sure to get dancefloors moving in the near future.

Silent Warrior EP is out now on KR3 in both vinyl and digital formats from Bandcamp.