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Aphorism – Surge

[CD, Tympanik Audio]

“Surge” is the debut album from Chicago based Josh Pyle, otherwise known as Aphorism, a word meaning ‘a terse saying embodying a general truth or an astute observation’.  After spending many years on the industrial music scene Pyle’s influences are many and varied, ranging from Wax Trax to Berlin techno to dub and drum ‘n’ bass.  Mixing the intricate glitch work of Autechre with industrial rhythms and the shadowy atmosphere of dark ambient, Pyle creates an interesting hybrid that is rhythmic, complex and moody all at the same time. Technoid and slightly broken, the distorted and somewhat abstract rhythms of Pyle’s music sometimes become even more experimental but always manage to regroup and find their structure again.  Often with a steady beat counteracted with experimental weirdness and fragments of digital sound all underpinned with swirls of dark ambience, Pyle fuses styles together in his own inimitable fashion.  Although there are many influences at work and several genres represented, Pyle skilfully blends them together to form a sound of his own, sometimes throwing in techno influences (“Combat Fashion”), trip hop with acoustic guitar (“Chrysanthemums for Carrion”), complex glitch work (“Everything”) or creeping atmospheres (“Sounang”).  Add to this the occasional well chosen and carefully placed sample and you have a unique and captivating album that crosses boundaries; not industrial, glitch, techno, drum ‘n’ bass or dark ambient but a combination of elements of them all and more.  The album additionally includes three remixed tracks from Totakeke, Access to Arasaka and Tapage.  Totakeke gives “Negative Two” a radiant quality that slowly degrades as it descends deeper into the darkness.  Access to Arasaka strips away the thudding break of “What We See Now” to replace it with gentle melodies and digital debris that transform into crisp, crashing glitch rhythms and melancholic swathes of ambient tone.  The Tapage remix of “Msect” is the pick of the bunch as he draws out the swinging buzzsaw sound, hardens the rhythms and enhances the string elements from the second half of the track.  Perhaps falling more on the listening side of the genre than the dancing side, “Surge” is an album of hidden depth and complexity.

Rating: ★★★★★★★★★☆



Published by Side-line [June 25th 2009]

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