this is third cd from small label component records (those of you familiar with codec and LogiQ would recognize the name of rob galbraith, label's founder), the label that aggressively moves into idm/experimental electronica (for the lack of better term) space with their upcoming compilation featuring an incredible lineup of artists like dryft, ml, proem, lusine icl, somatic responses and others, including xyn.
"subdermal" explores many genres including acid, conventional techno, some trance and electro elements. only latter two are something I can completely relate to, yet the whole album presents enough variety to satisfy many fans across those genres.
the rack that immediately knocked me off my feet and became my absolute favorite on the cd is dark "groovy" and very melodic trance of "trading a heart for plastic". it shifts and moves as a volatile formation teasing with deep basslines and fluid gentle keys, mysterious melody and very interesting layered intricate percussion. this is truly dark trancey techno, something I could expect from early substanz t - definitely a track that immediately stands out.
opening "as children" is more in the nature of groovy stripped-down techno with occasional simple analog lines, creating a bizarre mix of minimal techno with idm and electro elements. "deified" is an example of yet another style - flowing minimal techno with simple melodic passages that reminded me of groovy minimalism of swayzak. and as if to show off yet another side of xyn, we are treated with a peculiar mix of edgy drum&bass and atonal sparse keys (conveniently connecting it with previous track) that build melodic minimalism of "first grip". combination of fast-paced drum&bass and analog keys continue on "second grip".
hard stripped-down techno with trance elements is back on "flood water." and soon enough we are treated with almost idm-like intricacy of "five atmospheres" that enchants with clean synthlines and fluid percussion. the whole track has a slight, almost undetectable retro feel, that makes it even more pleasant. spacey electro of "slipping through" shaped by persistent techno beats and graceful synthlines. it is followed by some really interesting pieces that unfortunately are not very long. interesting mix of lashing noisey percussion and minimal keys on "stimulus" that slowly flows into more conventional fluid mix of techno and electronica ("beneath the skin"). I can see where the latter could get some airplay, being a good build-up on traditional techno tracks. finally, the album closes with very catchy dancy piece that still retains an otherworldly touch with echoing keys and atonal elements.
I guess my biggest problem with this album is overly "techno" nature of the sound, something that I am sure will be a selling point for many, especially considering the fact that it is more of a "thinking" experimental side of techno. I do appreciate a lot of impressive cross-genre work, setting this album on an entirely different music level. xyn shows a lot of range and potential, and it would be interesting to see where the band goes next. obviously, he has done his homework, and his talent allows so many styles to co-exist together resulting in a very solid and diverse album.