Teneil Throssell's early singles as HAAi, issued in 2017 through her own Coconut Beats imprint, were lush, somewhat laid-back house tunes, but she's really come into her own with her subsequent material, which has been harder, more complex, and just plain trippier. After her debut "Essential Mix" for BBC Radio 1 was crowned the program's best mix of 2018, she became a Radio 1 resident DJ, and has been constantly traveling around the world, delivering her lengthy, mind-warping DJ sets to ecstatic ravers and festival-goers. Systems Up, Windows Down is her first release for Mute, and it's her most intense, hypnotic, and psychedelic material thus far. Rather than delivering instant gratification, she takes time to rev her tracks up before slamming on breakbeats and fizzling oscillations, but all of the tracks end up being bangers. The most immediate highlight is the fiery "6666," which adds dubbed-out vocal cut-ups to a simple, storming breakbeat. The tracks on the EP's second half are deeper and more mystical, folding tribal vocal chants into the helical rhythms, and a sparkling, Orbital-like sequence elevates the storming ten-minute title track which concludes the release. Overall, HAAi's style seems more suited to the types of D.I.Y. raves and free parties thrown by the likes of Spiral Tribe and their disciples than the more mainstream clubbing world, and it's easy to see why she's become a mainstay at music festivals. Truly exciting, adventurous work from an artist only destined to propel herself ever farther.
AllMusic Review by Paul Simpson