Unknown – Unseen Series II

2 out of 5

Label: Analogical Force

Produced by: ?

For purposes of not confusing my cataloguing, I’ll just be referring to this mystery artist series by label Analogical Force under its series titles, else I make myself think this is attributed to someone actually titled ‘Unknown’… since I’m sure there are already multiple artists with that name.

The gist here can maybe be inferred from that: cuts from an unnamed artist. Is it someone we know? Someone new? No one’s telling. Initially I saw people trying to guess, but it feels like something of a lark to do so, after having heard some of the unfortunately rather derivative stuff on the EP; I also thought this was five different unknowns, but it’s just one artist. I’m not sure why, but that diminishes the fun of it a little bit – I could poke and prod at that, but I just offer it up as potential bias as I listened to it: if I don’t like the opener (which I didn’t), it’s going to make me less likely to give the rest a chance.

Over on the We Are the Music Makers forum – a long-running, dedicated Aphex / IDM-obsessives locale that’s a great source for all discussions electro-related – this release got ragged on quite a bit for nabbing from the Richard D. James school, and while that’s somewhat to be expected from WATMM, opener Pike makes that… hard to dispute. At points, when whoever-it-is falls back on a club beat, it’s alright, but the majority of the track sounds like someone preprogrammed very stereotypical Aphex / AFX effects and randomly applied them to said beat, and then added a pitch-shift in there, as though that would solve the rather amateurish construction. It’s really not a great first step; it’s akin to just discovering Come to Daddy-era Aphex and then quickly spitting out your own version.

And 2 out of the remaining 4 tracks somewhat follow this concept, though to a less offensive degree. Both are a bit more chill, and again, when the tracks just rely on their beats, it’s nothing new, per se, but it’s danceable, and solid. That not being enough, though, we either go heavy on the pitch shifting or the Rephlex flourish, both distracting from those acceptable backbones.

The other 2 tracks are pretty good, though, because they don’t rely on such forced flashiness – they’re more patient and chill – and Lynx, despite some last minute pitch nonsense again, is actually a damn quality song, mashing together house beats and chiptune in a rather unique, funky fashion.