Toronto-native-cum-Berlin-transplant Bwana has sidestepped straight-up four-to-the-floor techno for electro beats on his latest EP, Three Way Is the Hard Way on Dusky's 17 Steps imprint.
The opening title track is around six minutes of discordant electro nudged on by trap-like low-ends but lacking the energy needed to carry it off. Avalon Emerson's remix is no solution, either; more of a DJ tool, it's a clanging lo-fi backdrop that would probably be best paired with an a cappella. Somehow, it's less than the sum of its parts.
The next number, "On Patrol for Their Control," all too fittingly kicks off with female vocals repeating the word "time"; one is left wondering when the track is going to move on. It's moody, ambient electro (in a more-traditional sense, not the blog-house variety), but it's better suited to the hair salon than the club. By the time it peaks near the four-minute mark, it's just shy of being worth the wait — and yet, it's the highlight of the four-track EP.
"Hell Is Other Robots" makes for an appropriate closer, with an arpeggiated bass line that eventually trails off like ellipses, but on a short-play record like this, every second takes on added importance; that it merely sets the right tone isn't enough. Bwana has multiple releases on the acclaimed Aus Music label, and has appeared on Boiler Room — impressive feats. Unfortunately, this EP is not one of them. (17 Steps)