4 out of 5
Label: Central Processing Unit
Produced by: Shun
It definitely took me a few spins to get on Shun’s wavelength, as The Door is much house-ier and more techno than I’ve come to expect from the 90s-era IDM influenced Central Processing Unit roster, but that is, of course, ignoring some of the antecedents of that found in late 80s / early 90s house music itself, and how that bled into some of IDM’s ambient aspects.
Accepting The Door on those terms, Shun brings in a more modern acidic edge on tracks, while retaining a kind of loose, analog vibe to the beats, which are very club-centric. It can feel a bit same-y at first, in terms of pace – one of the roadblocks I faced on the first few spins – but there are hints in the head-banging moodiness of opener Digital Slave and the aggressive closer Rohan that encourage further listens. And with that – and again, with, perhaps, a more accepting ear than I was first offering – The Door, er, opens, and the EP starts to land, Shun having a great sense of buildup, and how long a beat should ride before bringing in another layer. I also appreciate that each track has a cool down – stripping those layers away; something a lot of electronic artists tend to forget, even amongst the CPU elite.
The bookends are definite highlights, but second track Kishibi is tight – very tense, very danceable – and boils Door down to its most primary elements for the EP’s shortest, and most direct track. It’s a nice parallel to the buildup of the opener.
The only weak spot is the ironically named Bizarre, which is the most predictable fare here, taking the same vocal sample structure around which Kishibi revolves, but not nearly as dialed in as that track, and also not having the layering of the opener or closer. It’s a good beat, just the most “standard” thing here.
It’s good for CPU to stretch out to embrace all forms of IDM, influenced by different sections of the scene’s timeline. While I’d say my tastes still veer toward the more time-signature wiggy stuff, Shun’s The Door does encourage me to dig a little bit deeper, and also circle back around on some early stuff I perhaps didn’t give the proper attention to back in the day… although it helps (me) when, like on this EP, that dancey sound can be enhanced with a modern sensibility.