Contra Scandal Keeps the Spirit of Denver Alive in “Mile High Livin”

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Last year, as COVID steered artists into home studios, many musicians used their isolation to immerse themselves in their music. Ezra Arenson know professionally as Contra Scandal, a Denver-based EDM producer and DJ, is a prime example. For six months, he dedicated his full attention to creating a body of work that would eventually become his debut album.

Today, after nearly a decade of making music, Arenson is releasing Full Circle. Determined to explore new sounds with each project, Arenson created an album that pushes the boundaries of the EDM genre in wonderfully grand and experimental ways. From front to back, Arenson delivers a wholesome variety of unique sounds and ideas, creating a world entirely on its own. The track “Mile High Livin,” a highlight, is no exception and is sure to become a Denver EDM staple.

Contra Scandal

Full Circle Cover Art

The track starts out simply enough, effectively utilizing the violin to create a slightly sinister, Egyptian vibe that follows the sound of the rest of the album. As Arenson takes his audience through the desert, it’s clear we are heading towards uncharted territory.

The only track on the project to feature a proper verse, Arenson utilizes that space to praise Denver’s nightlife and the Mile High City lifestyle, name-dropping some of Denver’s favorite venues including Cervantes, Red Rocks, and The Black Box. Whether you’re watching stage lights paint the surrounding rocks while you anticipate an earth-shattering bass drop at Red Rocks Amphitheater, or noticing the disco ball decorate a crowd as beams of light dance across the stage at Cervantes, it’s clear that Denver’s music scene is something special. Arenson captures this feeling perfectly, proving that Denver’s EDM scene stands tall next to any other city in America.

Although the verses mostly serve as a bridge between the grimy, other-worldly bass drops, Arenson provides enough charisma to sustain the groove and create a relatively smooth environment, encouraging the listener to let their guard down just in time to be shaken awake by the intense bass drop that launches the listener into a black hole of distortion and warped techno sounds. As the drops introduce entirely new sounds, the track takes on a life of its own. Arenson effectively cultivates a unique language, mixing countless traditional EDM sounds to give the bass drop a voice of its own. You can almost hear it saying “come see me live, I’m gonna blow your mind.”

Contra Scandal

Contra Scandal at the Untz Festival

Arenson’s attitude represents the Denver lifestyle well, filled with energy and good vibrations. His experimental style and ability to incorporate the violin into each track make Full Circle a compelling listen. “Mile High Livin” captures the spirit of Denver perfectly, and stands out in the tracklist along with “Rebel” and “A Calling.” The eastern influence and pleasantly dizzying bass harmonize with each other to create what Arenson calls “world bass music.” As COVID forfeits its grip on society and festivals finally return, Arenson hopes to perform this new album for his fans this summer. I, for one, am excited to experience this new world he’s created, live and in person.

Listen to Full Circle here.