Boxcutter, Gnosis EP

[Cosmis Bridge]

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Barry Lynn has been in a world of his own since his debut in 2005, with a beat-wise, syncopated mingling of dub, garage, and new bass mutation that lumped him in with the then-inclusive and shifting dubstep scene. His adoption of footwork rhythms and outer-spatial proggy melody on his first Boxcutter release after nearly two years of silence instantly calls to mind certain other contemporary producers of note, but the hooks on Gnosis are less prone to grip you in the gut like many of Kuedo’s do, and its polyrhythms are too difficult and incessant to hit you with the rolling momentum of Cosmic Bridge proprietor Om Unit’s stuff. Lynn’s music has always meandered, though, and he’s got the vision and know-how necessary to make his rambling worthwhile.

Boxcutter, excerpts from Gnosis EP

“Not The End of the World,” is beatless, noodling, and undoubtedly “epic” — in the modern sense of the word at least, given its two-minute runtime. Whirls of synth pads and chimes, finger-tapped electric guitar, and theremin-like coos wisp together in a Milky Way sheen over soft, inquisitive bass. It’s like the final curtain coming down on a prog-rock space opera. “Dream Gator” does a great job of offering a unique interpretation of footwork while properly grasping the intention and prime effect of the sound. Ever-stumbling beats whose almost-human whoops loop into themselves, sequenced with tricky unpredictability: Lynn splices all this onto a richly tailored backdrop of vivid harmonies. “Daylight Saving” reduces the voltage for a comparatively staid track closer to trip-hop until gorgeous crystalline synths come in halfway through, rewarding listeners’ patience in a finale of sparkling, trickling brilliance. This leaves “Gn0515” as be the weakest link, its components lacking the thrills found elsewhere and sounding too close to Om Unit’s stuff for comfort. This is an EP dominated by splintering showers of staccato, to-and-fro rhythm, so the space and air in between the hollow blasts of softly metallic synth and deep, woody bass in closer “Tibetan Metastate” is a short, refreshing pallet cleanser. While the Gnosis EP manages to pack in explosive assemblies of sound and feeling that are like sonic meteor showers, the complex and busy nature of the tracks means they don’t linger in the memory enough to make a real impact.

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