Boxcutter - The Dissolve
Reviewed by Michaelangelo Matos Source: (Resident Advisor)
Irish dubstep producer Barry Lynn probably isn't having a "moment" right now. Nevertheless, 2011 seems to be a fortuitous one for his visibility. As Boxcutter, Lynn's graduated from the more obviously edgy early work his name conjures to a rather graceful and antic take on the hardcore continuum. He's matured. But even as he does so, he's taken to heart the model of classic early '90s jungle labels like Moving Shadow and Suburban Base: Keep it lively and even silly, but never forget the floor.
Six months after the initial appearance of the crisp rhythm and flurrying high end of "Moon Pupils" on a Kinnego 12-inch, the track seems to have somehow deepened. That's likely because it now occupies the middle of a batch of material that varies in both ambition and wit. "TV Troubles," for example, does the '80s-U.S.-cop-show-soundtrack thing with not that much aplomb, though the low-slung guitar is a nice touch. But the best stuff soars. "Allele" is my second-favorite, a dramatically paced dubstep-time track with juddering percussion overlays—a juke nod?—that somehow hammer the half-time feel in place. "Topsoil," which follows, is Boxcutter's take on tech house, and while there are a few too many gewgaws in the mix to imagine it on a mix CD any time soon, it's telling how clearly that music's itchy-clicky style imprints onto Lynn's other adventures in rhythm.
The most surprising success here is a trio of cuts featuring Brian Greene's guest vocals. Not the title track so much—there, Greene comes in near the end, and it's a fuzzy meander that's closer to rock, rhythmically. But while it is not my custom to praise R&B tracks on electronic dance albums when actual R&B has enough sonic wizardry to go around as is (and let's not get started on songwriting), Lynn's groove and sound for "All Too Heavy" and the slinky closer "Ufonik" are adroit modern glosses on aquatic late P-Funk, space-borne with crystalline synth FX. It's more evidence that Lynn is a do-it-all kind, and bolsters the listener's suspicion that his best work is still ahead of him.
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