85%Overall Score

• Esoteric arp melody
• Driving techno beat
• Dark and playful

If it’s versatility, Oliver Heldens has never been short of it. The Dutch heavyweight has steadily remained at the forefront of dance music, both underground and mainstage. On his alter-moniker HI-LO, he has kept a consistent output of techno records without falling prey to staleness. “BONZAI” is an undeniable evidence to that as the song brings out an unexpected twist to the genre.

Fresh off from releasing “Blue Monday” with DJs from Mars and JD Davis, it was a fresh house flavored rework of the 80s classic staple hit from New Order. Right after a few days, HI-LO resurfaced with the latest track. For a secondary alias, it has been performing amply well owing to the fact that Heldens can juggle between the two realms like a champ.

Shifting our focus to “BONZAI,” the instrumentation falls into uncanny territory with its unique soundset. Usually, peak-time driving techno comes with robust synth stabs and a ferocious attitude. Yet, this one functions on a simpler and arpeggiating melody that doesn’t open up entirely and emanates a mysterious tone over contrasting yet complementing rumbly drums, acid squelches, and other sparser additives. The central break plays further with this hypnotic ambiance, letting the lead arp recharge for the second and final round. With few instruments and nifty variations, the song excels in creating an aura that is both dark and funky.

Retaining his quality of constructing quirky and competent techno, HI-LO has put forward another quality output that is “BONZAI.” Ethereal mood and groovy pacing, there’s nothing miniature about it!

You can listen to “BONZAI” here: