In June, Don’t Be Afraid label boss Benjamin Semtek announced the launch of DBA Special Editions, a more straightforward, club-oriented counterpart to his leftfield house outpost. While the DBA roster includes the likes of Detroit hardware experimentalist MGUN and hazy producer-songwriter Alis, the new imprint’s inaugural release comes from Portland, Maine-based producer Disco Nihilist (a.k.a. Mike Taylor), who tends to focus more on crunchy drum programming than dilapidated song structures. The four cuts on his Journey to the End of the Night EP are certainly concise—each features a powerful beat and catchy, friendly instrumentation—but at times, the simplicity feels a bit plain.

For the most part, Taylor leaves his beats unembellished. The blunt, sturdy rhythm on opener “Money Don’t Matter Tonight” takes the lead, driving through a corrugated-sounding synth loop and swollen bassline with crisp, Chicago-style drum programming. On “Midnight to St. John,” Taylor rolls out more powerful kicks dusted with hi-hats and massive claps, which collapse into tightly controlled, sputtering breakdowns. It’s an effective, tried-and-true style of percussion, but it’s not compelling on its own, which makes stripped-down club tool “St. John’s Drums” feel a bit predictable. “Late Nights” deviates slightly from the rest; the kicks are strong, but Taylor fills out the rhythm with hand drums, a bright hook, and a waggling bassline, giving the track a swaggering momentum and a Latin tinge.