Sometimes all it takes is one pivotal moment for musician to get noticed. For Tristan Harris, (aka DJ Boring) it was one particular track in 2016 that propelled him from bedroom DJ to one of the most sought-after names in electronic music right now. Said track was ‘Winona’: eight minutes of deep, elegant and affecting lo-fi house featuring a sample from a Winona Ryder interview. There was something about the famous actor’s poignant words repeated over a deep mid-tempo groove that resonated with a generation, and cemented the track as a lo-fi house staple. Since then, the Australian DJ has produced a host of equally innovative tracks and EPs, earning him slots at major clubs and festivals around the world. Despite a two-year hiatus, his latest EP Like Water shows no sign of him losing this momentum. In fact, it could be his best work yet.
Initially produced exclusively for his upcoming live shows, these four tracks weren’t actually meant to be released at all. But with any prospect of playing them to a crowd currently looking bleak, DJ Boring must have known that we needed something to settle our itchy two-stepping feet. From the opening title track, it’s immediately clear that this was made to be played live. Like ‘Winona’, it slowly unravels in the same measured yet powerful way, layer by layer, only now on a much grander scale. If his earlier tracks were for post-night out living rooms, this is designed to inhabit much larger rooms; a testament to the DJ’s growing confidence since his debut. The squelchy synths and textures of the track make it actually feel ‘Like Water’. If that weren’t trippy enough, the psychedelic neon animations of the accompanying music video only adds another layer of imagery to an already deeply evocative track.
‘Another Day’ is equally vivid, layering a rapid kick-drum and acid-house synths to make a bright, melodic track that would sit well at the peak of a live set. ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ follows suit, with off-beat grooves indebted to Chicago and Detroit house. Closing track ‘Seems Like Yesterday’ is a slow-builder, culminating in a soaring 90s trance crescendo making for a certified end-of-the-night tune.
In just four tracks, DJ Boring manages to capture the energy of club culture that we’re all missing, serving as a tonic for dancefloor deprived ravers. A powerful, confident and infectiously danceable EP, Like Water is proof that DJ Boring should be one of the first at the decks when the club doors open again. And you’d be foolish not to be dancing there with him.
Words by Alice Williams