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Aphorism - Surge [return to reviews]
Label: Tympanik Audio
Review by Christopher Roddy

Chicago's Josh Pyle has apparently been involved in the Industrial scene for over a decade and a half through various projects and incarnations. In that time he has amassed a meticulous knowledge for lush sounds and rhythmic intricacy that will now be showcased through his primary project which he has chosen to title Aphorism, a word referencing an acute observation or general truth. There's a cleverness to the way he pastes beats together while providing a great deal of atmosphere as a backdrop and his offering to the recent Emerging Organisms compilation put out by Tympanik Audio - a track called "Expanse" - heralded a complexity in percussive dynamics cradled in a slowly building synth aria that brought to mind some of Astralwerks' early Excursions In Ambiance collections. And while there's certainly a propensity toward Ambient in the way Pyle constructs his songs there's also quite a bit of Industrial sensibility that elevates his work beyond the realms of the the blissed-out and trance-inducing hypnotics evident in beatless electronic.

Take "Chrysanthemums For Carrion" as an example. One of the standout tracks on this debut offering, Surge, it begins with the warming strains of a synth that sounds as though it's been processed through backmasking while an instantly infectious downtempo rhythm is pushed to the forefront, getting your head bobbing. Light, sampled guitar is looped and a melody emerges that is utterly transcendent above all that is occurring around you. The way the beat stops occasionally then reconfigures itself in a more insistent way is mesmerizing and the peripheral sounds carry the tune forward while an occasional surprise erupts to break up the monotony. It's a truly masterful attempt at songcraft that invigorates the entire collection. The simple fact that seven minutes can pass by while seeming to merely encompass half that amount of time speaks to the ingenuity this artist displays in an almost effortless manner.

Sometimes the beat structures challenge the listener, as on the frenetic opener "Ulkine" where bubbling rhythms and insistent, driving effects provide provocative allure and melt inhibitions away thanks to the hook of a well-timed, melodic synth line nearly two minutes in. If at first you're put off by what's presented to you wait a while. Pyle seems intent on reeling the listener in eventually, easing you into his more industrious proclivities. "Negative Two" takes on a more classic approach to the Industrial beat leaning slightly askew of what you might otherwise expect as a beautifully simplistic melody emerges out of nowhere and becomes the driving force that leads you, paradoxically, to where the rhythm becomes the follower. The mood ascends as the key rather than the aggressive instincts inherent in each impact.

This isn't the sort of album that's going to appeal to many within the Industrial community, however. As unfortunate as that fact may be everyone has their own prerogatives and as much as this material may get labeled as "IDM" you probably won't be hearing it much in the clubs, even with three expert remixes capping off the album. A song such as "Everything" is bound to try the patience of any open-minded admirer of electronic music with its wildly skittering beat pattern and utter lack of anything to latch onto for four and a half minutes. But if you can pick out the nods toward Hip Hop and Jungle respectively and actually appreciate the work that went into piecing this track together than Surge is definitely an album you should own. Pyle hasn't compiled a wicked dance record or a list of atmospheric throwaways best relegated to background noise. What he has done is assembled an intriguing mixture of involving and thought provoking sounds that any forward-thinking music lover would want to include in his or her collection. Thankfully there are forums where CDs such as this are made available. The more you hear Aphorism the more you will be equally haunted and astounded at the inventive nature of this atypical and endlessly imaginative work.

1. Ulkine
2. What We See Now
3. Covert / Convert
4. Negative Two
5. Combat Fashion
6. Chrysanthemums For Carrion
7. Msect
8. Sounang
9. Reconsider
10. Everything
11. Two Sides Of The Bullet
12. Raining Dirt
13. Negative Two (Remix by Totakeke)
14. What We See Now (Remix by Access To Arasaka)
15. Msect (Dissected by Tapage)