Album of the Day: Egyptrixx, “Pure, Beyond Reproach”

On his fourth full-length album, Egyptrixx, a.k.a. Toronto-based ambient techno producer David Psutka, continues to push away from electronic dance music and into a less definable space between bass music, dark ambient, and New Age atmospheres. The music on Pure, Beyond Reproach (Psutka’s second release on his own Halocline Trance label) is interwoven with field recordings of water flowing—the light babble of a stream emptying into a pool, waves steadily cascading onto shore. “Lake of Contemplation, Pool of Fundamental Bond” and “We Can Be Concrete” create a two-song suite of metallic clangs and oscillating mechanics patterned after the organic movement of a river’s rapids or an ocean’s tide. That’s not to say, though, that these pieces sound anything like their organic corollaries—Psutka’s intention is to recode the universal rhythms of earth in binary.

The mechanical gloom and static compression of the first three pieces finally breaks with the title track, a balladic centerpiece with a sort of synthesized brooding core—a slow jam for cyborgs. It’s followed by “V.E.P.N.” which descends into a rainstorm of thunderous distortion and feedback while maintaining and reintroducing sonic elements drawn from the rest of the album. This use of recurring themes is a bold and striking demonstration of Psutka’s sensitivity to the details of composition—not as common today in the digital age as it was at a time when an album’s physical form implied a certain necessary cohesion.

Pure, Beyond Reproach is computer music rendered to soundtrack a modern technological dystopia, a cold sci-fi futurism that is no longer so chronologically nebulous. Egyptrixx recasts the terror and alienation that Philip K. Dick, John Brunner, and Ray Bradbury speculated about and, in the end, becomes one with the machine.

—Joseph Darling

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