Bewwip – Eigengrau EP

4 out of 5

Label: Analogical Force

Produced by: Bewwip

Assuming you’re already leaning into more experimental techno, I think the first time one hears true Braindance music, it’s rather mind-blowing: an “I didn’t know they could make music like this” experience, whether it’s via Aphex Twin, one of his Rephlex labelmates, or perhaps one of the many inspired by the genre over the years.

However, the more one explores that subgenre, it’s clear how difficult its been to escape the progenitors of the scene, and how accomplished those pioneers were. While I’m not set on the opinion that stalwarts like The Beatles or Led Zeppelin “own” a particular sound, I would say that when a follower of such an artist mimics their idol too closely, you’re likely better off going to the source. Owing to Braindance being a narrower category than ‘pop’ or ‘hard rock,’ that’s very often truer with squiggly wiggly electro acts: it’s incredibly common to hear that some hot new IDM act sounds like an AFX knockoff, or whatnot.

…Which is why it’s all the more exciting when someone does manage to break out of that shell, and deliver a unique spin on the scene.

Analogical Force, as a label, has struggled with their Rephlex-wannabe status a bit, but there are definitely standouts on the label; Bewwip is one of those. If you explore the artist’s other releases, it’s a bit clearer how they’re able to pull off such excellent Braindance on this Eigengrau EP – this isn’t their starting point. Bewwip has had a prodigious output under this name and 4rd, covering a wide range of electro styles with dedication over several years, so that by 2021, they have their own twisted style, and now that’s piped through a cut-up, BPM-insane IDM album. Although that’s kind of a pleasant trick, because sandwiched between that, you have some excellent groove / electro in there as well.

The opening trio of tracks are a tour de force of Aphex / Squarepusher-adopted breaks, though avoid all of the stereotypical fills and effects one might associate with those artists. In their place, Bewwip brings in a weird, atonal memory, like a few steps away from chiptune, but pushing the aggressiveness towards that pop sensibility. It makes for an awesomely breathless blend of ear-shattering rhythms and danceability, peaked with 4FFF 3, which boils down those two essences to their bare minimum and then deconstructs the track while somehow maintaining its melody.

B-side QFF Falreup switches over to something a bit more funky – moving past “classic” IDM to some other influences, touches of grime – and then over to a futurism bent on Sq1 (AF Mix). This track is where the EP maybe gets a little long in the tooth, Bewwip not playing up the background layer enough to overcome some repetitiveness, although had this song appeared in a full disc of similar cuts, it’d shine effectively. Closer Rns2db0 is notably all latter-day Aphex titled, and also veers more toward predictability than the other Braindance jams, but it’s not bothersome – more like a last tip o’ the hat to major inspirations.