REZZ unleashes a mix of unreleased music just in time for Halloween, and the results are… mixed.
REZZ has always had one of the most unique aesthetics in EDM. Her music has an uneasy, otherworldly vibe, evoking alien abductions and mind-controlling drugs. Her visuals have cemented her image, performing behind iconic LED spectacles and projecting trippy visuals that give her sets a hallucinogenic edge. Nightmare on REZZ Street, her Halloween-themed 32-minute mix of unreleased material, sounds like a perfect extenuation of her brand. Add on custom visuals done by eight different artists, each with their own style, and you have the chance for something really special.
Unfortunately, Nightmare on REZZ Street doesn’t come together as well as I’d hoped. While the visuals often delight, those that don’t are tacky and lame, and some songs remind you why they went unreleased in the first place. Once the mix finds its footing in the second half, however, it’s a true Halloween treat.
Watch the Nightmare on Rezz Stree (Audio/Visual Mix) on YouTube:
The mix starts off promising, which is both a blessing and a curse.
A fully polygonal REZZ walks through a forest and finds a “fire orb” as bass rips from the speakers. Then she stumbles upon an abandoned city, and for a brief moment, I got excited, thinking this story would play out throughout the whole mix. It made me hope that there would be more connective tissue between each segment than just a Halloween theme. As it transitioned to the next song, however, I realized I was mistaken, and that the quality of the visuals would be wildly uneven.
One cool thing about Nightmare on REZZ Street (or frustrating, depending on how you’re looking at it) is that each song is simply titled “ID-ID.” “I want this mix to flow as one entity as opposed to a promotion of each unreleased single,” says REZZ. It’s a noble goal for sure, but sure makes writing about the individual songs a, well, nightmare.
The next song doesn’t inspire much confidence, but the third song might be the best in the mix.
Song two, or at least, what I think is song two, is a bust. Its beat didn’t grab me, and it comes and goes without iterating on any of its ideas. Song three, however, might be the best song in the mix. Using a sample of the immortal “Oh-wa-ah-ah-ah” from Disturbed’s “Down With The Sickness” and peppering in REZZ’s trademarked synths, it delivers an awesome drop that I couldn’t stop thinking about. Of all the songs on the mix, this one feels like it should get a proper single release. It’s just a bummer that it’s paired with some of the lamest visuals of the bunch, some spinning text and shapes that take far too long to get interesting.
There are a few more tracks before we make it to the halfway point, and from here just about every other song disappoints. You’ve got some great, A-side-worthy REZZ wedged uncomfortably between tracks that wear out their welcome very quickly. The best songs are then matched with disappointingly plain visuals, while the worst songs get the good stuff. They frequently don’t feel like they’re embracing the Halloween theme, and when they’re bad, they’re just boring. The first half of the mix is uneven to its core.
Thankfully, everything starts to come together on the second half — both musically and visually.
The songs here are clearly better. Not a single one in the second half feels like a filler or drifts off after delivering a single unsatisfying verse. They all feel like solid, complete tracks that could’ve filled out a full-priced REZZ Halloween EP. And the visuals that surround them are more cohesive and scary, finally embracing the theme and creating unique images that I would love to see at a big stage at a festival.
Song number I-don’t-know-any-more (which comes in around 16:00) starts the half off right. Slowly arpeggiating synths weave in between crunchy basslines as a storyline plays out in glitchy white text. The sky turns red, and the camera drops to the ground, running through a darkened forest that reminded me of Slender Man.
From here, the songs begin to flow into each other effortlessly and distinct songs become harder and harder to determine.
This isn’t a problem at all; after fifteen so-so minutes, everything starts working as intended. The visuals, too, are remarkably consistent, working through six different artists who all seem committed to creating appropriately spooky vibes. From the droplets of blood and satanic imagery to the harder-hitting bass and driving beat, the mix becomes a little bit grizzlier.
One of the best visuals is the second to last one, where REZZ dons a striped shirt and a bladed glove to become REZZ Kruger. Shot in video, the cinematography and staging here is really solid, and make me wish the entire thing embraced this type of visual. Following it up is another FMV scene, this time superimposing clips of REZZ DJing onto various decayed and abandoned locations. It’s a fantastic way to end the mix, capturing the Halloween spirit while still bringing the hype of a live DJ set.
Overall, Nightmare on REZZ Street has incredibly strong moments that are hampered by a slow start and its commitment to the mix format.
Since the songs are all IDs and haven’t been released as individual tracks, you’ll have to manually skip through each of the bad songs to get to the good. It’s a real bummer because what’s hidden in the second half of the mix are some of my favorite REZZ tracks to date.
If she had cut the first 15 minutes, kept the amazing Disturbed song, and put out everything as an EP with an extended music video, Nightmare on REZZ Street would be my favorite release from her yet. Instead, it’s an interesting experiment that doesn’t quite work as a whole.