Pioneering musician/producer duo Break Science has been pushing the electronic envelope for over fifteen years and counting. Virtuosos Borahm Lee (keyboards/production) and Adam Deitch (drums/production) have consistently set—and reset—the artistic bar sky-high since they first hit the scene in 2009. As 2023 shifts into high-gear, Break Science has re-emerged from a sustained period of downtime with an adventurous new EP, Mecha Flora.
Released on February 2nd, the EP marks the duo’s first body of work since 2018’s full-length LP, Grid of Souls. The latest drop expands on some similar sonic directions, yet also harkens back to trademark Break Science vibes of many PLM moons past. Offering six ambitious compositions, Mecha Flora finds Break Science taking fans on a time-traveling excursion in both sonics and song-craft.
Originally rooted in New York City culture, the Break Science blueprint blends instrumental ability with a mastery of technological advancements in sound design, a melodic, bass-heavy, hip-hop influenced brand that Lee and Deitch continue to reshape and reinvent. Years ago, both Lee and Deitch moved from Brooklyn to Denver, where they swiftly become vital members of the Front Range’s thriving electronic music community—a geographic transition transmitted through the evolution of their sound.
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Both Borahm and Adam studied a plethora of digital workstations, production software, and drum programming techniques, as well as immersing themselves in the works of the greats. Break Science has proven adept at incorporating an intelligent gumbo of sounds and textures from the future, deftly blended into its well-established brilliance on keyboards and drums, respectively.
In the middle of 2020, when the music industry was forced into an extended pandemic pause, Lee and Deitch had the good fortune of being near-neighbors in Denver. While it was online/digital technology that kept most people connected during the pandemic times, these longtime creative partners could walk to one another’s house inside of ten minutes. Motivated by the miracles of tech in those crucial times, as well as the majesty of the natural world that awaits us all outside the front door, Deitch and Lee took advantage of their physical proximity by performing a variety of livestreams in various configurations, plus writing and workshopping the tracks that would become, Mecha Flora.
Borahm Lee broke it down like this: “Mecha relates to the mechanical, technical side of our music and the whole material aspect of the world we live in. Flora represents the more natural, nature side of life. Together they form a beautiful hybrid culmination of technology and electronic music alongside the natural, more organic, and live instrumentation to our music. Around us there’s so many manifestations of joining together our technology into our nature.”
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The partnership flourished, as they patiently and meticulously delved into numerous facets and faces of the Break Science sound. Instead of growing stale or frustrated by the circumstances beyond their control, the duo used the period of “inactivity” as a golden opportunity to mine a treasure trove of inspired concepts and concoctions between them. Though concerning, the prevailing sense of uncertainty actually served as a proverbial battery in their backs, facilitating productive creativity.
The fruits of these friendly, low-key neighborhood sessions can now be squeezed into our ears via the inspired tracks on Mecha Flora. This latest platter arrives almost a decade after Break Science’s now-legendary debut full-length, Seven Bridges—but don’t call it a comeback, because these dudes have been here for years.
The buoyant title track, “Mecha Flora”, picks up where the duo last left us. Borahm mixes in pianos acoustic and electric, with Deitch unleashing a measured take on their trademark bounce. The cut’s bulbous synth-bassline makes it an instant earworm, a sure-fire recipe for Break Science success. A pastel sunset melody rounds out the song—purposeful music ideal for the streets or the beach, luxurious tune for driving, walking, sailing, or chilling.
Future-bass/hip-hop hybrid “Live Twice” features the smokey baritone raps of Niko Is. The emcee arrives from Orlando by way of Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, delivering thorough bars and an undeniable hook, plus classic call-and-response tactics made to move a crowd. “Live Twice” swims in a subaqueous space, half-time Bossa Nova-esque beats powered by 808 trap snares and a Flume-tastic melody on the chorus. “The Calling” harkens back to some of the old-school Break Science energy from the Pretty Lights Music era of a dozen years ago. The track begins with an emotive build that wheels and deals atop boom-bap drums, a meditative movement and spiritualized expression.
Break Science ft. Lily Fangz – “Steady Within”
After getting treated to a private preview in Borahm’s car last summer, back then I knew right away that “Steady Within” was set up to be a scorcher. The musical composition wields just about everything there is to love about Break Science: haunting piano chords, thunderous bass tones, cinematic synths, elements ethereal and emotional, plus that patented Adam Deitch electro-thump. “Steady Within” feels both familiar and brand-new, trippy textures and tones coalescing in psychedelic-crunk, and all of it employed in tasteful, contemporary fashion.
Then, there’s the tremendous display of emceeing on “Steady Within”, which arrives courtesy of Denver-based wordsmith Lily Fangz. I first encountered this artist at Lightning in a Bottle 2014 (a festival where I happened to be a guest of Break Science, who were making their LIB debut) when she was freestyling around the Sacred Fire in the middle of the night. Imagine my surprise when her conscious, potent bars appeared atop the same fantastic jam from that impromptu listening session in Mr. Lee’s Audi several months earlier. To this writer’s ears, “Steady Within” represents an artistic high point for both Break Science and Lily Fangz, and fans can only hope this is the first of more collaborations between the two entities.
“Share the Stealth” is another patient, brooding number, maybe the most reminiscent of early, classic Break Science cuts. This track implements subtle piano stabs in concert with hard drums knockin’ and a wobbling bassline, throwing it back to the post-dubstep/electro-soul explosion first captained by the PLM movement. “Share the Stealth” could sit nicely on 2012 EP Monolith Code, with swirling orchestral strings and a journey from dark to light.
The sixth and final song, “Crystal Lake”, is Mecha Flora’s organic disembarkation point. A dream-state head-nodder with choice guitar chords and a certain strut, this joint owes a debt of gratitude to timeless styles of Q-Tip, J Dilla, Pete Rock, and Nujabes. The prismatic closer offers a breezy zone for Break Science to shift gears, stick the landing, and bring it on home.
Fans of Break Science can look forward to a pair of Spring solo releases from the duo’s members, as well. After spending many years incubating these creations in the lab, Borahm Lee’s debut LP, Echoic Memory, is due on Monday, March 13th. The following month, Adam Deitch’s latest producer-project, Take Your Time, will arrive via his own Golden Wolf Records imprint.
Listen to Mecha Flora by Break Science in its entirety below.
Break Science – Mecha Flora – Full EP