Boxbeat Robot manages to cover pretty much every piece of ground explored by electronica without nailing his colours to the mast. If you can name it, he’s probably done it as well as most others can (often better), whilst adding an boundless flair for experimentation: on the track 'You Never Really Fell In Love, (No-One Ever Really Does)', he combines the skitteriness of Venetian Snares with the organic feel of a Mount Kimbie percussion mix and pads that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Brian Eno record.
Anyone that can start an album with a track like 'In Bits' has got something right. It starts ominously enough with tempo-less synth bursts and a syllabic vocal sample that finally kicks into something Moby could only dream of. It’s clear from hereon in that the influences are gonna come thick, fast and massively mangled. And the slightly off-kilter, crunchy lead synth lifts the soul.
My personal favourite, 'Shudders', begins with the trickle of rain on earth, followed by a super pensive acoustic guitar riff (beard-stroking times) and an “I FEEL GOOD!” lyric harmonised by suitably stoic voices. The drop is crushing. The beat then trudges up and down like two feet ploughing furrows into the now rain sodden ground. By 'Overcast, Outcast', it’s teeming down. The rain, just like everything on this LP, is exquisitely produced, crackling away with mids that hit you square between the eyes. 'Strole Outta Control's killer bass line swells, devouring the whole mix before a middle distance whistle glues itself to the inside of your head from all the water tension.
The whole project has a fascinating image too. On his Soundcloud, he talks of building sad robots. 'Just Chill Man' sounds like one that can’t stop dancing to hide the pain, while 'Strole Outta Control' sounds like a lanky one being chased home through the rain from a jazz club. Strange images, sure. But in successfully evoking these characters, Boxbeat Robot is all the more compelling.
So, in conclusion ladies and gents, it’s beautiful. It’s a pleasure to be treated to and I think I’m finally starting to repay my ears for years of being in a very “noisy” band setting week in, week out. Well, I might have a way to go to truly say sorry, but they were very pleased with this outing and certainly will be for years to come.
Posted: Sun 22 April 2012