5 out of 5
Label: Central Processing Unit
Produced by: Julian Kochanowski, Melissa Speirs
A powerhouse of acid and electro, Biochip’s 2019 mini-album ‘Synthase’ shifts from chill, gorgeous washes of keys and beats on its A-side to nervy, AFX-tinged jitter on its B-side, striking, throughout the perfect balance of innovation and letting its rhythms ride.
M.O. glides into view on a gently building beat, glittered with background synths and an underlying groove, rightfully – as per its title – setting the stage (for this first act) with a sense of soothing wonder, allowing curiosity and oddity to creep in with some wicked tweaks at its midpoint. This drifts into the light patter of Simulated Events – its background syncopation another hint of things to come, especially as it gets more minimalist and robotic towards its conclusion – and the beat-boxy darkness of the short and tight Frame Shift, which reverses the formula and opens up its claustrophobia to something more hopeful sounding. Doctor Effect then splits the tonal difference: a grounding, muted beat and layers that shift back and forth between dark and light…
Over on the B-side, another appropriate title: Acid Billy. This kicks things off intensely and awesomely, like a lost, early AFX jam, drilling hard on the BPM and offering up tons of fun drum experimentation. Tone Forest opens this up: funky, DMX style, which is a pretty great segueway into Information Superhighway’s moody, driving beat and mysterious, distorted vocals. Finally, Dusty Dossier closes out on a panicked blast of skittering drums and zipping and zooming synths, wholly opposite to where Synthase started, and yet wholly linked by the way Biochip seeds in all of the elements they work with throughout.
It’s a seemingly tiny package, and just flipping track to track, it might only seem to offer up some chill electro and some acid, but each song jams in a whopping range of emotions, seamlessly transitioned between, and juggled masterfully between offering up something new and surprising little tweaks, and just digging in for good beats.