Over the past 12 months, LA/SF duo 5kinandbone5 has shed many of the hip-hop underpinnings which marked its initial output. While this year has still seen the outfit producing tracks for a number of budding leftfield rappers, its own efforts continue to become more aligned with the various strains of house, techno, and bass—all of which are explored on the Sex Lies & Videochat EP.

In some ways, this EP seems to hint at a gradual maturing of the 5kinandbone5 project. Even the artwork is a bit toned down by the pair’s standards, and despite the tracklist containing a few less-than-serious song titles (“Niggaz Is Machines” and “Matrixxfuck” the most questionable among them), the productions here display a newfound reserve and patience, specifically in the elongated arrangements and less brazen sonic trappings being used. The seven-minute “Forest Nymphs” is one of the best examples of this, locking into a funky Midwestern groove before eventually rolling out a perfectly bouncy bassline and matching melody sequence made up of what sounds like the staccato hits of a general MIDI vibraphone patch. The closing “Machines Don’t Lie” is a similarly fitting example; gradually working a set of filtered chords back and forth across the frequency spectrum atop a pumping four-on-the-floor house beat, it remains an intriguing listen while not really doing much more than assembling its handful of ideas in various patterns. These tracks—along with the spoken-word featuring “Black Matter” and the hyper, Lone-esque “Niggaz Is Machines”—are impressive in their ability to move and evolve in small, necessary steps. Never does Sex Lies & Videochat lead the listener to any sort of “drops” or big moments; rather, the ideas presented in the opening sections of the tracks are explored and developed for five-plus minutes.

In the end, this doesn’t make for the most outright exciting EP, but—with the exception of the aforementioned “Matrixxfuck” tune, which proves to be the record’s only lackluster outing—it’s hard to deny that 5kinandbone5’s continued dedication to its Detroit, London, and Berlin inspirations has led the group toward an increasingly intriguing sound. More importantly, the duo does not come off as a duplicate or needless derivative of any sort, having found a unique place all its own amongst the current crop of retro-futuristic dancefloor outfits—a fact that bodes well for this and future releases.