AB2088 – Sagittarius

5 out of 5

Label: Computer Club

Produced by: Andrew Brown

Cold brilliance.

For releases on the CPU / Computer Club labels, certain Rephlex and Rephlex-adjacent touchpoints are common for comparison.  This isn’t a bad thing: the label(s) have purposefully pursued those influences, and what’s been magic about it is the way that the slew of releases have spun those up into new, fresh listening experiences, and not just “sounds like, but not” offerings.

Coming on the more experimental splinter label of Computer Club, AB2088 – who’s also released under CPU – gives us Sagittarius, befitting of all those Rephlex-y references – early AFX; Drexciya – but almost moreso than anything else I’ve yet to listen to from the labels, bursting forth with its own identity.  It’s a cold identity, reveling in the watery and icy textures of those two artists just mentioned, but also wholly gorgeous, slipping into textures that are open-ended vistas of wonder and then morphing into frightening, oppressive blues and purples in enclosed spaces, connecting – via a vaguely spacey, science-y theme – the two in a mind-bending back-and-forth that reminds me of 70s filmic head trips like, say, Altered States.

Sagittarius starts with discovery – Lacu – giving way to the thrills and joys of Permafrost – and then in to the unexplored territories of Subsurface Ocean I and II and Hydrocarbon.  Hereafter, the, we start touching on the unknown: Bokglobules; Cogen – these are more amorphous, bleak listening experiences, while still tied to a core sense of control that persists across the album.  We round the bend into Terraform, a heightened pace, shortened song lengths, broaching some new understanding of this initial discovery with Nuworlds.

While there are musical elements that definitely call to mind classic IDM influences, I think what AB2088 has most in common with Rephlex heavy hitters is the way it tells a story.  It may not exactly be the story I’ve made up in the preceding paragraphs, but what generally sets my favorite electronic listens apart from the crowd is how transportative they are, and Sagittarius effects that from start to finish.