5 out of 5
Label: WeMe Records
Produced by: Todd Osborn
Four tracks that are a blazing tour of the various corners of IDM, linked by the focused, non-showy mentality of their composer – Todd Osborn, a.k.a. Soundmurderer.
“Toned Down” is an interesting name for this EP: a fitting one, and again showing Osborn’s oversight on what he’s doing, here, even if it sounds like four songs from four subgenres. Tight, skittery beats run throughout, and the EP kicks off at its loudest and most brash, “toning down” over its course for a comparatively chill closer.
‘Dubplate Murderer’ – the opener – is also an incredibly accurate name. A dub bottom line and vocalizations combine with heavy duty drill and base and stops and starts. The “non-showy” bit is important here, though, as Osborn knows to keep it tamped down enough so that it’s not just a BPM earache; the track still has a danceable, grooving edge.
The same goes for ‘Logical Volume Identifier,’ which has a chiptune sense of speed and tone but maintains its musicality.
‘8th Stage’ moves in to more “typical” 90s era Rephlex IDM, with rapid-fire beats and pace changes and then a layer of synths atop, alternately melodic and freaky.
Lastly, closer ‘Awamori’ keys on ‘8th Stage’s chill moments and expands upon them, like a lost track from the Richard D. James album.
Soundmurderer: in the sense that Osborn has shown that he can kill at all these various takes on the electronic scene, but he does so with such control that it’s damned impressive. The “Toned Down EP” shows a definite love for IDM, and you’ll spot notes of favorites – certain influences – yet Osborn puts his own precise stamp on things.