4 out of 5
Label: Central Processing Unit
Produced by: Tiphaine Belin
A lot of Central Processing Unit’s roster sounds like, or is inspired by 90s Rephlex output, or its heavyweights’ peers from the decades directly before and after. This isn’t a bad thing – it’s quite purposeful – as it’s dug up a lot of excellent artists (for my under-exposed ears) who are pushing and molding their inspirations into cutting edge stuff. Trypheme’s Aluminia is the first wholly downbeat album I’ve listened to on CPU – probably not their only one, just the first in my collection – and picks up on a different vibe for modernization: the slick, radio-friendly vibe of early 00s Warp. “Radio-friendly” again isn’t a bad thing – it promotes a certain sheen that can offer up deeply emotional, and / or instantly moving compositions; it requires a tight-rope act of keeping that from feeling artificial in the same way that IDM dedicants must be careful to not be too showy.
Trypheme manages this balance almost wholly throughout this 6-track EP, spreading the style out to cover trippy ambience on the A-side, and some jaggedly and organic dance beats on the B-side. The artist’s use of multiple layers of fuzzed out synths with haunting vocals and clicky beats is built from the aforementioned familiar stepping stones, but much like the bulk of CPU’s stuff, it combines for something that truly sounds like nothing else on the label. It hits those emotive moments by earning them, scrambling a groove together from oozing, disparate elements on ‘Lava,’ urging them in to something with some attitude on ‘Eedu,’ then unleashing funk and fun on B-side’s ‘X-Ray Mantra’ and ‘In a Cyber Spiral.’ The only place where I feel like the line is crossed in to something a bit too polished and predictable is A-side’s ‘Fey,’ which goes for a quiet-to-loud approach that seems too structured versus the other offerings here, and is made somewhat redundant by the vibe of closer ‘Cry Silent Cry.’