When you listen to cross-genre electronic mastermind Mat Zo's music, it's clear the man has a deep respect for dance music's roots. Whether he's crafting a face-crushing bass tune or a groove-a-licious house beat, there's a level of care and attention in the nuances of production and often a nod to the sounds of those who came before. Likewise, when he launched his label Mad Zoo in 2014, he took care to support artists who equally value the history and legacy of electronic greats, and never has that artisinal approach been more evident than on the label's latest compilation, This is Mad Zoo.
“We’ve been pushing quality electronic music from all sides of the spectrum for a few years now, so it only made sense to do a compilation representing all of what we’re about – taking electronic music’s past and beaming it into the future," Zo tells Billboard Dance. "Mad Zoo is all about that pre-EDM production mindset and applying it to the sonic landscape of today, and we tried to capture that in what is supposed to be a microcosm of the whole label. Even though there are so many different genres, it feels cohesive, because every track was made with a ton of love, and every track has an element of chaos.”
The 12-track compilation perfects that modern-retro flair with a wide range of styles, from big beat to drum'n'bass, IDM, dubstep and instrumental hip-hop flavors. It opens with a sideways lean from Craze called "We Outta Here" that sees the DMC champ cut heavy synths and hip-hop attitudes over a dreamy, space-age beat. Mat Zo follows up with his own crunchy, bassy, industrial-strength banger called "Motivate." There are some drum'n'bass-inspire rhythms that'll have you bobbin' your head into the rest of the comp with absolutely stellar, mind boggling and bonkers appearances from ALEPH, Anti.Negative, Counsel Pop, DWAM and more.
This Is Mad Zoo is out now on Mad Zoo. Listen to it below.