Astrobotnia / Cylob / Cylobotnia

[Cylobotnia sleeve]"Cylobotnia" (EP, 2003)


Cylobotnia = Astrobotnia + Cylob says the label helpfully, Astrobotnia being Finn, Aleksi Perala who has also recorded at Rephlex as Ovuca, while Cylob is the musical moniker of Chris Jeff, a relative veteran, having recorded since the early nineties. I picked up this EP (8 tracks run to just over half an hour) after reading favourable reviews, already being a fan of Cylob's excellent 1995 long player, Cylobia Sunset.

This collaboration began while the two artists toured together in America and was completed by months of sound file correspondence. Not ideal circumstances you might think, but the record always comes across as a cohesive whole. Got My Pass starts out deep and dark with quirky rhythms morphing constantly, always on the edge of breaking up completely, Chewing The Mint continues with bell-like tones punctuated by off-kilter but precise percussion to keep up interest.

Ozdrum's beautiful reversed flutes hang in the air supported by fierce drill and bass rhythms, leading the way to the quirky More Fake Acoustics, which sounds like vintage Squarepusher to me, no bad thing. Side 2 starts with Natbocto, a spiky techno-mess of bleeps and beats, then Turn the Mill's shuffling point and counterpoint. Hip-Hop Gamelan is oddly pretty and melodic with ghostly harmonies, while we finish with Electro Works, discordant chimes in some fairly spacious reverb.

While perhaps there is nothing in particular here you could point to as breaking new ground, these tracks never sound stale, wandering as far of the beaten track as they can get while still making perfect, funky sense. This is engaging electronic music with a touch of humour, intelligent without ever becoming too clever by half. 8/10

Tim Bodium (December 2004)