Conceptual avant-rave duo Evol take an academic approach to acid house, deconstructing and recontextualizing their core elements to create extreme, challenging experimental electronic works they describe as "computer music for hooligans." The brainchild of Barcelona's Roc Jiménez de Cisneros, Evol began in 1996 as a sound art project committed to exploring the intricacies of electronic music-making, starting from the ground up with the mathematical principles underlying the programming of sequencers and synthesizers. Cisneros has worked with many collaborators over the years, the most frequent and longstanding of whom was Scotland's Stephen Sharp. The project's debut release was the 1999 EP Principio on Mego, which was performed entirely on a Yamaha RY-30 drum machine. Recognizing the limitations of the technology, they switched to computers and began to explore digital synthesis and algorithmic generation.
From then on, Evol operated at full tilt, churning out dozens of singles, digital releases, art installations, and performance art pieces every year. An early highlight of their catalog was the 2004 EP Punani Shell (part of their extensive "Punani" series), a vicious 20-minute blast of abstract electronic noise. It was followed the next year by their debut full-length album, Magia Potagia, which explored pitch-bending and time-stretching to extreme degrees. Despite the academic nature of their music, Evol's work was characterized by a sense of playfulness, fun, and absurdity. Their work drew high praise in experimental music circles, and comparisons to other artists working in the same field, such as Peter Rehberg, Russell Haswell, and Mark Fell. Toward the end of the 2000s Evol created their concept of "rave synthesis," re-creating digitally -- and sometimes organically -- specific elements from the rave and happy hardcore music of the early '90s, particularly the so-called "hoover" or "Mentasm" synth sound. Abstracted from their original environment, placed into a beatless soundfield, and subjected to time-stretching and other effects, these sounds formed what the duo called "rave slime," which was the basis of their acclaimed 2011 release Wormhole Shubz. The albums Proper Headshrinker and Do These followed in 2013 and 2016, respectively. ~ John D. Buchanan