The Korg Electribe ESX-1SD Music Production Sampler is a standalone drum machine and sequencer that has nine programmable drum parts, two synth parts, basic filtering and modulation capabilities, and a built-in tube amplification system. The producer/DJ known as Slava — born in Russia, transplanted to Chicago, living in New York — wants us to know that this is the only instrument he uses to make his music. If you’re thinking “I don’t care about how the dude makes it, as long as it sounds good and I can dance to it,” I assure you that Slava makes complex, danceable music — but I don’t share your philosophy. In the context of 2013’s digital omni-accessibility and profuse onstage laptop-ery, I fully dig witnessing Slava handle the Electribe in a live setting — programming loops on the fly, cycling through sequences, turning little gray knobs, and editing waveform parameters in real time. He operates remarkably within his gear’s limitations, cramming his tracks with enough house, footwork, acid techno, and 2-step signifiers to satisfy listeners from all of the cultures he’s dipped into since he set out from his homeland.
Slava’s debut album Raw Solutions drops on April 23 via occasional Electribe user/all-the-time synth sorcerer Dan Lopatin’s own Software label. In the video for first single “Werk,” we get a nice introductory look into Slava’s world: vodka, trippy virtual-reality backdrops, Adidas, silver-haired cyborg dance troupes, and plenty of closeups of both the man and his little red machine.