As the cover art suggests, Devil’s Workshop is a beautiful, tripped out piece of work. Over the course of 12 tracks and 40 minutes, DJ Format crafts a sprawling world of noir-ish, psych-tinged boom bap beats crafted in the tradition of sample-based producers like DJ Shadow. Each track melts seamlessly into the next, painting a cohesive picture that’s cinematic in scope. It’s a real journey, a psychoanalytical head trip that’s both magnificent and haunting – the musical equivalent of Gaspar Noé’s 2009 mind-fuck, “Enter The Void.” This one is definitely on a druggy, hallucinogenic vibe in the best possible way – an album of proper head nodders built around sludgy basslines and weirdo samples from a wide variety of genres, ranging from rock and folk to spoken word and soundtracks.
In hindsight, with Devil’s Workshop DJ Format has crafted the perfect soundtrack to 2020, an album that captures all the anxiety and mania of that turbulent shitstorm of a year. Had it come out last year, it may have come across as more of a horror show. But, because it was released in 2021 when the sun is out and vaccines are in the air, it instead becomes a sinisterly fun listen, an album that’s perfect for soundtracking more hopeful days to come.