4 out of 5
Label: Central Processing Unit
Produced by: Eddie Symons
Interestingly, the only track on Nullptr’s Aftrmth to somewhat disappoint – though really on in comparison – is the title track, which is also the only track to nib from the letter-dropping style of its artist’s name. There could be something to this, both in that the “aftermath” of the devastation of IDM opener LPC-10 and its sound reconfiguring followup, Polytopes, leaves Nullptr at its most bare, resulting in the repetitive minimalism of the title song. Or it’s just a song, and it only feels lesser than as its surrounded by some really grabbing stuff.
LPC-10, the internet tells me, is a particular Linear Prediction Voice Vocoder frequency, which still kind of means nothing to me, but there are vocoder-ed voice samples through its aggressive squiggles and beats. This kicks Aftrmth off with intensity, and it kicks and changes throughout its runtime, leading in to the interestingly at-odds-with-itself Polytopes – a term for (again, thanks, internet) a geometric object with “flat” sides – which struggles against a stripped down beat to be unleashed, holding back and back until another layer can be added, then taken away, the reformatted and added again… The A-side ends with Aftrmth, which nips Polytopes stripped down sensibilities, but without evolving on them, and tends to sound rather similar to its preceding track’s backbone beat when they’re paired back to back.
But then there’s the slow burn of the B-side, with Skyline seemingly treading in similar territory as Aftrmth, but whereas A-side’s latter tracks are sort of cold, and Detroit-y, Skyline is darker and edgier, and Nullptr (Eddie Symons) keeps pushing and twisting this track until its blossomed into something pretty banging. Mothership continues the build, and continues the mood, and represents its name pretty well, with its final moments suggesting a beaming up into an alien world of sorts, giving way to the aggressive Nemesis, which is a perfect bookend comparison to where we started – IDM beats, lots of twists and turns, though mood-wise a totally different world from LPC-10.