Anodyne: IV (Offshoot Records)
Irish producer Colin Cloughley bridges the gap between broken beat electro and melodic IDM seamlessly with this album of infectious tracks. I’m reminded strongly of late 90s and early 00s acts on Rephlex, Toytronic, or Neo Ouija, with a more physical quality that feels better suited for dancefloors. There’s a real nice punch to the bass on most of these tracks, with stabby basslines and crisp drums contrasting a mid-range layer of grit that often skitters around and in between. The syncopation on a track like “Prism” sounds especially good on headphones, where it’s more obvious how many varied reverbs and depth effects he’s using on individual sounds, all working in tandem to create a complex and persuasive groove. Despite the emphasis on beat-making, Cloughley has a great ear for melody and harmony, with catchy basslines and handsome melodic arrangements complementing them.
One of the strengths of IV to me is that very rarely does a song even approach overstaying its welcome; many cuts are under three minutes long. But the palette of sounds feels uniform and consistent, with each production lush and layered enough to stand alone but feeling like part of a cohesive whole. “Leave All That Behind” skitters with the frantic energy of contemporary footwork, but it still glimmers with the sheen of melodic electro first and foremost, while the three “Fold”s that are peppered through the tracklist focus on a more lurching dubstep quality to the beat, giving a bit of a slowdown in the otherwise uptempo tracklist. While some tracks are more engaging than others, it’s a solid album from start to finish, more like a prolonged continuous journey than discrete tracks.