Cygnus – 100% Dope

5 out of 5

Label: CPU Records

Produced by: Phillip Washington

Yes, truth in advertising.

100% Dope – Central Processing Unit’s 100th release, and also Cygnus’ first CPU EP that hits the mark all the way through.*

And let’s be clear about something: that celebration is really what this release is centered around, encouraging robo-vocals 80s party jam “CPU Records,” and Cygnus – Phillip Washington – has smartly maintained that mood throughout, bringing in some Sheffield murky mystery on the aggressive “Float Back to the Surface,” and then back to the goofier DMX Krew style with video game boast “Throwing Shade.” The production and progression on these tracks are perfect: Washington keeps the percussion sharp as hell and knows just how to build things up, strip them down, then mutate them and build it up again. I’ve also skipped right over opener Bad RGB Controller, which is in the vein of Deep Analysis: IDM married to icy club beats; it’s right in line with the electro stylings of the remainder of 100% Dope, but also puts on something of a straighter and more devious face to kick things off, reminding us that Washington has the chops to mix and match the tone as needed. It’s a killer opener, leading into that CPU hypeman track, and the body-moving fun that follows.

*The digital version has an exclusive 5th track which somewhat reminds of the limitations of Newmark Phase: it’s an excellent beat that feels like it gets stuck and doesn’t grow. But given that it’s essentially a bonus, I’m not knocking the EP for it.