Although fresh LuckyMe signee Cid Rim (a.k.a. Clemens Bacher) hasn't yet signed to Warp, nor is he Scottish, it's hard not to notice that his self-titled mini-LP has a lot in common with the 2011 album by Glaswegian producer Rustie, Glass Swords. Both artists have a penchant for bright synth stabs and noisy productions that come to life with soaring melodies and buzzing synth euphoria, which is perhaps why the Dorian Concept remix of Cid Rim's "Draw" (at the time, it was titled "JazzJazzJazz") was such an easy fit into Rustie's recent Essential Mix.
That said, in Glass Swords's brilliant light, the self-titled effort by Vienna resident Cid Rim does seem somewhat subdued. Both records use bright, bustling enthusiasm as a pervading aesthetic, but Cid Rim's mini-LP is smoothed over by a sensibility likely harbored from his work as drummer for jazz-electronic fusion group JSBL. Where Glass Swords built unrestrained vigor around the structure of programmed dance beats, Cid Rim uses drumming to construct a new skeleton for his ecstatic melodies.
For instance, the first drums heard on the album are the rumbling thuds and ticking hi-hats of a jazz break, which rolls under a fluttering, Victor Wooten-style bass solo and rising synth chords. It's strikingly similar to the blazing sunlight and rollicking musicality of Brainfeeder's bass guitar wizard Thundercat, and from there on out, Cid Rim contorts dance beats with a flare that seems improvisational. "Six Hundred" rests on a lurching rhythm that frequently cascades into mini-breaks and rolls, as if a live drummer were composing the beats from behind a drum kit.
However, Cid Rim's focus falls as much on the melodies as it does the percussion. At times, the eye-popping synth stabs on songs like "Six Hundred," "Manage Expectations," and "Danger Ranger" overwhelm the other elements of the mix, which can make Cid Rim's enthusiasm seem unmanageable. The flashing chords sound like they were indeed stabbed out of the synth, and the squealing notes sound like a mixture of ecstasy and agony. The effect is potent, but the emotions on Cid Rim can occasionally feel a little overbearing and heavy handed. For instance, the stuttering samples cradled by the bass notes on "Danger Ranger" eventually reach a tempo that's so fast, it's sure to shred through any mood other than blind ebullience.
At its most ecstatic, the album can feel like a beautifully styled run-on sentence. It was clearly arranged by a skilled hand, but there are too many ideas and too many emotions crammed into the mix. It's hard for a rhythm to be anything but neck-jerking when it's careening through cymbals, heavily edited samples, flickering notes, and clicking hi-hats. On the slower tracks, like the woozy "Fall For Two," Cid Rim's sounds and moods are clearer, more lucid, and less artificial. The extra space affords the producer enough room to show off his creative flare for jazz-flavored percussion, and without squeaking synths or vocal samples that have been contorted beyond recognition, the songs seem less denatured and more lucid.
This contrast is apparent in album interlude "Optimistic Minor," which acts as a polite, introspective foil to the aforementioned—and brazenly noisy—remix of "Draw" by Cid Rim's JSBL bandmate Dorian Concept. While "Optimistic Minor" tickles watery keys and swirling melodies with a soft loveliness akin to Actress songs like "Ascending" or "Holy Water," the rework of "Draw" amps up the loud drum hits and lively samples into a stomping, gleaming automaton of a song. Even without a beat, the slower and more lush soundscape suits Cid Rim's penchant for sonic overload without crushing the listener underneath tidal waves of boundless energy.