Ceephax – Exidy Tours

5 out of 5

Label: Firstcask

Produced by: Andy Jenkinson

Andy Jenkinson has poked at the IDM crown many-a-time, popping up on many of the coolest electro labels here and there, but often seems tagged with a “younger brother of…” qualifier – he’s Tom Jenkinson’s aka Squarepusher’s younger bro – or maybe just didn’t get the chance to quite make the splash as he started appearing more regularly towards the tail end of the scene’s late 90s peak in popularity.

By my take, his albums / EPs also have a slightly tossed off nature to them; almost always noteworthy, but with a moderate take-it-or-leave-it vibe that maybe comes as an affect of working at the edge, or just beyond, the spotlight. With Exidy Tours, an earlier effort, Ceephax turned that tendency to his favor, delivering a low-key masterpiece that works with the artist’s sometimes half-committed playfulness to lead us from simple bop to devastating, dense, and often very emotive IDM. The album’s ambient bookends are excellent ways of framing things, but the brilliance really comes from the way Andy guides us from this comparative quiet to the intense breakouts spread across the album’s 13 other tracks, chilling with quality electro / house that will morph into freakouts that rival his brother’s heavy beats, or RDJ’s experimental deconstructions, or Raczynski’s obsessive silliness, all handled with a steady hand that, again, leads us back down to something simpler and more relaxed. And he executes this again and again on Exidy Tours, making it a self-perpetuating exercise in continual surprise: he gets you with that tossed-off vibe, and then it hooks you with something more devastating.

Album currently on repeat, and will likely remain that way for while.