Dustin Zahn – “Temporary Vandalism” (Blueprint) [March 22, 2024]

Dustin Zahn hasn’t released on Blueprint since 2021, with not on a lot of other labels since then. Since losing his entire studio to theft and pivoting to help organize parties as a promoter with the Intelliphunk crew, he’s still had a hand in expressing his voice within the scene. That is why it’s great to see such a natural talent in the scene—Dustin Zahn is as real as it gets. 

The tracks across “Temporary Vandalism” are very straightforward and functional, fill every need, but also express with great ease and without struggle exactly what he wants to say. From his socials, Dustin Zahn is actually very forthcoming and honest about his approaches on each track. At once, you can definitely relate to the idea as a listener, and if you’re making tracks, you can identify with the artistic process. That is pretty great actually, because so many Techno artists are afraid to lift the veil and become approachable as real people. Being real and true perfectly embodies the Midwest Techno aesthetic.

On “Catharsis,” Dustin Zahn reveals the main synth line is a jam from the Arturia’s “Microfreak.” Zahn explains that the idea for this track was to push this sort of cathartic experience where the tension keeps building before finally breaking and giving some sense of relief. With “Rotator,” he Is definitely building up a subdued energy alongside gritty textures with his shakers while trying to keep the feeling of the tracks from getting out of control. This control largely coms from his admission of resampling and trying not to fall victim to the standard modus operandi that other producers use. “It’s the really burnt, fried kick to the face that sounds completely wrong to me. It’s a powerful hot rod built with all the wrong parts. Somehow, it still works despite being absurd and demented, which is probably why it’s my favorite.”

The title track definitely has the most energy out of the entire EP. Zahn says the track is about a personal, dark, and brooding response to the recycled loops and hard groove concepts being hyped up now while keeping it funky and fun. He explains that arranging it was pretty simple… keep it moving, keep it fun, and keep up the energy.

“Conduit of Chaos” has the artist illustrating how important it is to keep things simple but thanking the simplified and stripped-down Blueprint sound that James Ruskin and Mark Broom championed a while back. It aligned well with Zahn’s musical identity in the 2014-2018 era. “The other tracks on the record are focused on trying to do all kinds of studio trickery. Because of this, it made sense to include a track that sticks to the timeless Techno blueprint for…Blueprint Records.”

There’s not much else that can be said other than it’s always a treat to hear someone who is completely one with his instruments and processes that everything that comes out of him is an expression of flow and very characteristic of who he is as an individual. Dustin Zahn has put in his dues and spent the time reaching this point in his history as a musician. Listening to his Techno is as natural and comes with as much ease as bird song through the trees.

Full play-by-play for Zahn’s ‘VH1 Behind the Music’ insights on each track can be found here.

-Sean Ocean

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