BOXCUTTER: Arecibo Message (Planet Mu)

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Posted on May 13th 2009 12:40 am

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Boxcutter: Arecibo Message

BOXCUTTER
Arecibo Message
ZIQ225CD
Planet Mu 2009
13 Tracks. 49mins07secs

Icon: arrow Buy: CD | LP iTunes

In the four years since he first burst onto the grime/dubstep scene, Barry Lynn as established Boxcutter as a force to be reckoned with, yet, in recent years, his sound has progressively become more eclectic and rounded, while still retaining much of the caustic streaks that got him noticed in the first place. Hailing from Lurgan, county Armagh in Northern Ireland, Lynn published a first EP on London-based Hotflush Records, one of the first imprints to heavily promote dubstep, in 2005, before moving to Planet Mu the following year. He has since delivered two albums under the Boxcutter banner, and a third one under his birth name, as well as contributed tracks for a number of compilations released by the label.

With his latest Boxcutter slice, Lynn continues to explore much wider sonic grounds and adapt his approach to fit with this expanded horizon. While Arecibo Message, named after a message beamed into space to celebrate the remodelling of the Arecibo radio telescope, Puerto Rico, in 1974, still provides a hefty dose of urban grooves and gritty electronics, Lynn adopts a resolutely more nuanced tone here, cutting his digital sequencing with analogue synths and effects and pushing into richer soundscapes and occasionally moving close to injecting progressive improvisations. This process often gives his tracks a much greater depth, as demonstrated on Mya Rave, Arecibo Message or Old School Astronomy for instance, while tracks such as Free House Acid, Lamp Post Funk or Kab 28 appear to be fuelled by an energizing element of freedom.

The album also features A Familiar Sound, a track originally featured on the EP Boxcutter released with Northern Irish outfit Kinnego Flux earlier this year. Here again, there is an element of fluidity sipping in which, combined with the duo’s funky tone and clean cut vocals, gives the piece a dimension all of its own, while on the closing A Cosmic Parent, the funk component is combined with gentle jazz overtones far removed from the electronic textures of previous releases, hinting at richer and more varied playgrounds still.

With his third Boxcutter album, Barry Lynn has given his original sound a new space to fill, and while he continues to expand on his urban template, his approach now sets his work on a different path. More ambitious and mature, without losing its identity, Arecibo Message is a convincing demonstration of why Boxcutter has become one of Planet Mu’s most consistent acts.

4/5

Icon: arrow Boxcutter (MySpace) | Planet Mu
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