3 out of 5
Label: Central Processing Unit
Produced by: Carl Finlow
Some deep, dense cuts bookended by two solid, if a bit repetitive, grooves. Silicon Scally’s second CPU release, Cobalt Blue, has some similarities to his (Carl Finlow’s) first in that sense, as it pairs two standouts with two tracks of, by my ears, less nuance, but whereas the 5 minute runtime of every song was sort of previously used to let the layers of beats and synths to breathe, on the opening title track and closer Protocol 2, it instead feels like a minute or so too much of an okay thing. Cobalt Blue, while perfectly named, with its retro, standoffish beat, gathers its various effects pretty early on; Finlow rearranges things a bit here and there, but otherwise it sort of hits a logical end point after three or so minutes – the track veritably ends – and then it just starts up again, doing the same thing, for its concluding portion. Protocol 2 has more internal variation, but it also doesn’t feel especially deep, sounding more like a handful of sounds flipped on and off at points than a full song. Both of these beats are good, that’s just the extent of it.
However, in the middle (or the start and end of each side of the 12″, if you’re going vinyl), we get Scintillation and Asynchoronous, which step up Finlow’s laid back house style to include more modern dressing, and, in the case of Asynchronous, a really engaging edge. Scintillation is another fittingly named track, having a kind of slinky, mysterious vibe to it, and using Finlow’s slow approach to dance around and add to that vibe throughout; it’s instantly grabbing where the preceding track was simply interesting. Asynchronous then goes dark and clipped, very much the flip side of Scintillation and presenting a hybrid of styles in a manner I haven’t exactly heard before; very exciting stuff.