It's Broken by ReflexsonRelease date: October 4, 2017
A while back, when there were no audio samples all around you to check a record, and the guy in the shop didn’t even want to break the celluloid wrapping on the cd for you to at least take a brief listen, there was one advantage. The uncertainty and hope for a positive surprise when you bring the damn thing home and put it on. After all, you had to gamble and rely on your intuition, inviting cover, whatever. These days, there are so many ways for you to check out well ahead of what awaits you in certain grooves, 0 or 1 in the code or whichever format you play your music in. No surprise, positive or negative.
Missing that somewhat, I actually approached the It’s Broken EP by Reflexson actually with no real expectations. It is actually the first part of a double EP issue (second part coming in 2018), the artist was completely unknown to me, and the all-surrounding labels and tags that we have in these current times, said: electronic, IDM. And frankly, a surprising electronic (or IDM) music these days has become a bit scarce these days, even if it re-hashes some previous ideas that can serve as a welcome refreshment.
And finally, here’s that welcome surprise! Texan Paul Cox has been around for a while (1999), but this is only his first digital release, but frankly a timely one. Cox actually doesn’t present anything earth-shattering, but the music on this EP is neither stale or the same old, same old. Saying that Cox re-works some previous ideas, but does that with style and aplomb, coming up with some very listenable stuff that never drops to the level of boring, pushing the envelope or unlistenable. He actually brings some ideas that should be used more in modern electronica. That particularly concerns the opener ‘Shattered’ that with its guitar sound recalls Krautrock master Michael Rother and his ‘Katzenmusik’ and ‘Sterntaler’ albums combined with some good, old reggae-inclining beat. Also quite exceptional is ‘Knockover’ with its use of zither and spliced-up vocals. The close runner-up is the closer ‘Frame Break’, while the other two tracks ‘Disconnected’ and ‘Hammered Down’ bring up shades of dubstep and IDM proper and are interesting enough to keep your attention.
The surprise factor here is that somebody, in this case, Cox, has decided not to take solely a well-trodden path but also bring in some ideas that are not usually associated with the genre. Let’s see what the second part brings in. Maybe another surprise.