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A Magazine for Sheffield

In 2012 I had the pleasure of reviewing Cygnus’ Newmark Phase, the first release from Central Processing Unit. The label has since made a big auditory and visual impact on the city’s musical landscape, with the distinctive design and sound aesthetic they’ve kept up across all releases also applying to their Computer Club showcases.

Newmark Phase was a stormer of a debut, a varied set of tracks from moody dub techno to playful electronica, all united by the fuzzy organicity of his sound, a result no doubt of the limited tools approach that recording on an all hardware set-up entails. Tesseracter is a similar affair, with perhaps an even stricter stylistic framework, as almost every track fits firmly into the electro camp here.

Yet within this there is room for experimentation and each track has its own character. The transition from the unnerving labyrinthine opener ‘Escher’ into ‘Video Games’ is a good example, sounding as if it was recorded in the same take. Yet within 30 seconds the music slips into a woozy realm of warm poly synths and vocoders that could be straight out of Dusseldörf in the 1970s. This ‘live’ element adds a distinctly human unpredictability to affairs, with entry and exit of loops, dynamics and filter adjustments skillfully manipulated on the fly to make the music really breathe.

The more regular tempo and rhythmic style on this release means that it doesn’t quite reach the peaks of Newmark Phase in terms of pure emotive impact, where standout tracks such as ‘Bedroom Activities’ were more self-contained. But as an album taken as a whole, the progression here is flawless - a satisfying if edgy adventure through a richly textured analogue world.

Ben Dorey

Keep your eyes peeled for a CPU Records treat in our November issue…