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Boxcutter The Dissolve Review

Album. Released 2011.  

BBC Review

Like mainlining fizzy pop on a summer’s day: brilliant, bright, jumpy and jovial.

Mike Diver 2011

Despite us critics continually trying to place them into ill-fitting boxes, the very best ‘dance’ artists thrive on never letting the listener get a proper handle on them – on what to expect, and where a record is going once it’s begun. This is true of Barry Lynn, aka Boxcutter, who chops myriad influences into bite-size pieces before sprinkling them atop his latest LP. The end product is awash with intriguing reference points while simultaneously sounding not quite like the work of any other act. The Dissolve is named after the video effect of fading one image into the next, and throughout this set one sees shapes shifting and morphing before their eyes, ears swimming in luxurious beats and synths.

One could step away from The Dissolve, after a handful of listens, and call it unfocused, incoherent. This is partially true – by skipping from intensity to introspection, from vocal-led tracks to instrumentals where low end rules supreme (hello, Factory Setting), Lynn does rather risk upsetting the stability of his newest collection. But part of the joy derived from the Northern Irishman’s fourth album is that the listener is always kept on their toes. And while not everything exactly lends itself to dancefloor frolics, as is the nature of anything loosely categorised (still) as IDM, much can find a home in both the club and the car, soundtracking the night out and evening in alike.

Panama sets a delightfully tropical tone, coming on like El Guincho mixing it up with The Invisible while The Future Sound of London’s Papua New Guinea is pumped out of the room next door. The following Zabriskie Disco is completely different: thumping dub-level bass fumbles its way around a track that slips on meaty yet manoeuvrable synths, akin to the squelchy summertime vibes conjured up by Lynn’s Planet Mu labelmate Oriol. Vocalist Brian Greene appears three times, the best of his contributed-to cuts the lo-fi delight that is this record’s title-track – more like Panda Bear than any artist to be found alongside Boxcutter in the dance/electronica racks. Greene returns on closer Ufonik: G-funk updated for the post-dubstep landscape.

Sure, it’s a little disjointed, a little indulgent, but when Boxcutter’s best beats connect with welcoming synapses, the effect is like mainlining fizzy pop on a summer’s day: brilliant, bright, jumpy and jovial. Holidaymakers, be sure to pack this beside your factor whatever and two-for-one paperbacks.

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