Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Boxcutter - Arecibo Message

If you’re as big a fan of Barry Lynn’s music as I am then you’ll be as pleased as I was to find that this is as good as anything the man’s yet released. (after the tantalizing Radio 1 preview, however I had little doubt that it would be)

Arecibo Message
finds Lynn honing his distinct sound to a fine point. His raison d’etre- celestial atmospherics, ethereal melodies, razor sharp drum programming and grimey bass and generally dubbed out vibes- is on full display, as is his obvious obsessive attention to detail. Lynn’s music could be compared to Mercedes Benz; sleek, modern, astonishingly well engineered and miles beyond the competition in shear innovation. True to form, he demonstrates yet again that to class his music as mere dubstep is doing it a disservice. Though firmly rooted in the 70 BPM bump of dubstep, Arecibo Message regularly transcends the genre- effortlessly flitting between techno, electro, atmospheric drum & bass, IDM and 2-step, often in the course of one song.

Released on the ever excellent Planet Mu, the album gets it’s name from the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico. Presumably the “message” being some sort of contact with unknown extra terrestrial intelligence. This would go a long ways toward explaining the other worldliness of his interstellar dub sound.

Side Trak begins with synthesized bells, warm bass and a simple riddim. At about half way through he goes mental, thrashing about with that skittery metallic drum kit that seems to be proprietary (if you’re already familiar with his work you’ll know the one). In an obvious nod to the golden days of British raves, Mya Rave V2, starts with brittle UK Garage style snares and pitched up diva samples and vamped ‘ardcore keys At the break down, things get technical with slinky modulated bass and a beat that changes between straight up 4/4 house, 70 BPM dubstep and back to 2-step again. The futurist electro of Spacebass is one of the many highlights; here 80’s style electro squelches, 808 snares and hand claps meet with some really cool sounding synthesized keys, a laser bass line and mechanized android dub atmospherics. A Familiar Sound changes things up nicely. A heavily delayed r&b male vocal sounds disembodied yet quite comfortable over dubstep drums and bass. Keys, glitches, bleeps and synth gurgles swirl in and out making for a sleek bouncy hybrid of styles. Elsewhere Lamp Post Funk and A Cosmic Parent bounce with disco and almost Parliament funkiness respectively.

Lynn is again able to explore all kinds of different styles while remaining thoroughly grounded in dub. A must for fans!

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