2 out of 5
Label: Central Processing Unit
Produced by: Eddie Symons
In a different world – and I don’t mean for that to be a pun – in which I’m not spoiled for choice for good, downtempo electro, Nullptr’s wholly inoffensive ‘Future World’ would be, y’know, fine. If “inoffensive” and “fine” don’t seem like superlatives, then you’ve keyed on something about the album: throughout its ten tracks, Nullptr – Eddie Symons – will establish a warm, soothing beat, with flecks of acid here and there, and then let it ride for four or five minutes. That’s, admittedly, often a criticism I use towards albums which don’t affect me much, and electronic music can be more susceptible to it: maintaining status quo throughout an entire song, or an album. While a lack of variation can be a purposeful effect, I feel like that purpose then has to be applied in some manner. The title track of this album, its closer, is suggestive of that purpose, I think, with Nullptr stripping things to an absolute minimum for the set’s longest song – seven minutes. In this case, the restrictions applied and the expansiveness of that runtime are affecting; elsewhere, though, it’s rather middling – songs feel hemmed in by a desire to keep things grounded and earthy, and though a lot of pleasant and notable beats are made, the songs containing them neither ebb nor flow. I do sense some structure here, beyond that closing track, as opener Arrowhead is similarly (though not as extremely) minimal, and the exact middle of the album – Cytron, Phantom Cell – starts to perk up a bit. But it’s those hints of Something Greater that ended up giving me an overall negative take on the experience, knocking the rating down, as repeated listens just had me frustrated by the general easy-goingness of the album.
The production is quality, and the control and restraint Symons applies is interesting, but it doesn’t result in an album that engenders many relistens.