Cygnus – Extra Terrestrials

3 out of 5

Label: Central Processing Unit

Produced by: Phillip Washington

Cygnus loves his electro, boy. The icy synths; the vocodered phrases; an 808 squelch tempered by the artist’s modern, crisp production… This kind of stuff rides a fine line for me, with Ed DMX being the best example of an artist who commonly solves the equation of this style perfectly, balanced between old and new touches, and a composition sensibility that juggles fun with very precisely applied nuance, giving the music a lot of depth. Otherwise, I think this style requires more of an appreciation for synth gear or club culture than I have, and Cygnus often walks right on that aforementioned line, between strobe-light repetition, and clever lil’ ante ups.

Extra Terrestrials, in its flexi edition, is just the title track, and showcases my preferred version of Cygnus’ approach, using all the iniitially mentioned electro touches in the song’s first half, before breaking midway through and bringing in a more modern IDM influence, touching on early AFX / Aphex territory. 4.5 minutes is just about perfect for this stuff, as right when I start to tire of the looping of the former half, we jump into the more engaging latter.

Extra Terrestrials, in its digital edition – more what I’m rating here – has another track: Cybrid Vox. While I think the core beat on this is delightful, awash in reverb and swooshing synths, there’s no break in this one; it mostly just repeats, and repeats for 6+ minutes. It’s too much. On an album, Cygnus can buffer this with other stuff, but on a single, it’s a disappointing backer to the title track,