Egyptrixx A/B Til Infinity
The sole Canadian representative of the increasingly international Night Slugs contingent, Egyptrixx (a.k.a. David Psutka) has followed up his ambitious 2011 debut album, Bible Eyes, with the equally inventive A/B Til Infinity. Psutka's work as Egyptrixx has always operated with a slightly unconventional approach to club music, but the woozy synths and atmospheric tendencies of his debut album nonethless complemented Night Slugs' dystopian, experimental reconfigurations of dance-music tropes. A/B Til Infinity largely moves things further away from the dancefloor, with nine tracks and very few kick drums to be found on any of them. Egyptrixx's excellently weird recent mix for Night Slugs' ongoing podcast series signaled the producer's interest in exploring noise and texture as elements on an equal footing with the rawest, most stripped-back club beats, and that tendency has held firm with A/B Til Infinity's multi-dimensional, surface-oriented techno.
The first thing one notices on the album is "Ax//s (Intro)"'s crisp, vector-like drum programming; the short track conjures an entire sonic landscape with its shuffling snares and hi-tech moodiness, which bleed into the glistening arpeggios and delirious whooshes of the title track. This attention to detail and beautifully rendered atmosphere runs across the record as a whole, which possesses a high-concept fixation with the shimmering, hyper-real surfaces of techno-capitalism that recalls Jam City's Classical Curves album. Another point of comparison is the terrifying cybernetic minimalism of Oneohtrix Point Never's lauded R Plus Seven, traces of which can be heard in the metallic affectations of the aforementioned "A/B Til Infinity," as well as in the track's sudden, spartan shifts in dynamics. While there is a minimal quality to the album, A/B Til Infinity doesn't shy away from grand gestures. Album highlight "Adult" pairs pummeling snare hits with ominous, grime-indebted synths, while "Bad Boy" trades in a largely ambient form of dystopian dread, where in between the massive chords that just hang there, Psutka ominously places a found-sound recording of police sirens.
One of two tracks on A/B Til Infinity to veer remotely close to the dancefloor is "Alta Civilzation," which features a clubby 4/4 that nicely complements the track's weightless, pristine synthscapes. The other, "Water"—which saw release earlier this month as limited-edition white label—is propulsive and infectious, but while it contains some of the dizzying depths of much of the rest of the album, it nonetheless feels conventional in comparison. Indeed, A/B Til Infinity's second half is a noticeable step down from the first, although the unsettling lunar synthscapes of final track "A_C_C_R" closes the album out on a high note. On the whole, despite a couple of weaker tracks, the record marks one of the most exciting recent transmissions from the reliable Night Slugs label. Psutka's production on A/B Till Infinity is evocative and daring, and combines a future-oriented polish with an austere sense of simplicity, solidifying Egyptrixx's distinctiveness amongst a new crop of surface-obsessed underground producers.
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