Kai Wachi Credit: Turk Photos

“Wow, this is very 2012 dubstep,” my 16-year-old quipped when he heard Demigod (Kannibalen), the latest album from DJ and producer Kai Wachi. Sure enough, Wachi did get his start that year, and he’s been keeping the faith ever since—which my son and I agree isn’t such a bad thing. The title track doesn’t exactly smash any Skrillex paradigms, but the sound is enormous: synths rev up to thrash-metal speeds and beats drop from great heights to smash open with a screech of filthy static. Wachi’s rapping on “Level” captures the album’s lyrical concerns succinctly: alongside the cheerful machine-gun automation of the hammering electronic pulses, he delivers lines such as “Shoot it / Snort it / Smoke it / Fuck it / I be on another level.” He does stretch himself a bit on “Photograph,” where Claudia Bouvette’s sensuous, R&B-pop vocals slide into his flurry of noise like a rebel ship swooping into the Death Star. “Heartless,” a collaboration with fellow Boise native and heavily Auto-Tuned singer-rapper YLTI, is positively mellow, with gentle ambient synths and xylophone tones that seem more suited to a hotel lounge than a rave. But the bulk of the album (including, unsurprisingly, songs called “Break” and “Kamikaze”) is true to form—loud and frenetic, with blasting bass.   v