Sunday 29 January 2017

Rephlexive Action

Went through my list of expanding backlog today and came across a little something that I'd long since forgotten about. Yessir this time we're talking Richard D. James' often overlooked label Rephlex, specifically Cylob. I was turned onto Cylob after hearing a couple remixes and appearances on Rephlex compilations, and it's one of the more obvious cases of me picking something out based on album art and names there is; Cylobian Sunset from 1996.

Breaking tradition a little bit this time, we're going to start with the penultimate track from Cylobian Sunset: I Left My Heart In Syntax Error. It's a very smooth piece that nicely contrasts the slightly glitchy album art, once again showing the flexibility of what was termed IDM at the time (the term which Rephlex famously hated), twinned with Cylob's knack for gorgeous synth. I really dig it, I've always had a soft spot for the more introspective parts of these kinds of records, I love me some snare rush breakcore sure but there's always room for something a little slower. Stay tuned for the small encore starting at 4:34.

I Left My Heart In Syntax Error was one of my first picks off the album, mainly because the title stood out for one, but ten again that's not too hard gven a lot of the tracks on here subscribe to the Autechre school of naming systems, usually vaguely techy (sometimes made-up) sounding things with maybe a slight pun. Not to knock Foid before we get stuck in though, it's another downtempo piece but in contrast to Left My Heart... is more subdued, the slow build of those delicate synths, then combined with muted drums makes for quite a cosy yet cold experience. Not awfully complex, but I don't think it needed to be.

And finally Balzouf, yet another downtempo one if you hand't guessed already but with quite a different spin form the first two. While the first two could maybe fit into a trip hop or ambient mold respectively, this one is definitely a prime example of of-the-era experimental electronic stuff. Not meant to disparage it too much, its still chock full of lovely sounds and all but it certainly shows its age and as a result comes out sounding a little bit like a piece from AFX's Melodies From Mars.

-Claude Van Foxbat

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