[CD, Tympanik Audio/Spectraliquid]
Rob Lioy is a 25 year old electronic musician from New York with an avid interest in all things cyberpunk. So much so in fact that he named his musical project Access to Arasaka after an evil corporation in cyberpunk related card game Netrunner. A big fan of art in its many forms and of visionaries such as esteemed American writer William Gibson and Russian film director Andrei Tarkovsky, Lioy has been composing music for the best part of the last 10 years. Self-releasing several EPs (that are still available) through his own website and a an album and EP through net label Illphabetik, his debut release Oppidan – named after a building in his own as yet unfinished story set in Detroit in the future – is jointly released by the respected US label Tympanik Audio and Greek label Spectraliquid.
On first listen, Oppidan might not seem to be particularly new or innovative but there is something there that draws the attention and calls for repeated listens. It is an indefinable quality that is difficult to pinpoint exactly but it is there. Like Lioy’s many artistic, futuristic and sci-fi influences and interests, Oppidan seems to come from somewhere beyond the matrix, created and transmitted from the future by an unnamed cyber-technician. That might as though it is taking things a bit far but Lioy’s music possesses that sort of quality; a precise, futuristic, hi-tech quality that makes it seem to come from some advanced alternate reality.
Created using traditional keyboards recorded to computer, Oppidan takes mellow tones and textures, adds ultra precise beats, glitchy splutters and other subtle but strange computerised sounds to produce something that could be described as Autechre’s calmer little brother. Lioy brings an air of calm and structure where Autechre were often experimental and chaotic. Similarities are inevitably drawn with the likes of Daniel Myer’s Haujobb and Mike Cadoo and Mike Wells’ Gridlock projects, both innovators of this style of music and while Lioy might not be pushing new boundaries with Access to Arasaka, what he is doing is subtly redefining the genre according to his own vision. So cleverly in fact you won’t even realise it until you find yourself returning to the album for more listens.
Published by Connexion Bizarre [February 2nd 2010]