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BROKEN_CANYON - Drain [Pyramids - 2019]

Little is known about the artist going under the name BROKEN_CANYON . Ostensibly the solo project of one Andrea - based out of New York - the lack of biography and the project's proximity to the Dream Catalogue label raises the suspicion that it could be another of the dozens of aliases used by label head David Russo. The evidence is inconclusive, however a close listen to Andrea's output suggests resonances with the kind of post-vaporwave music Russo specialises in, albeit with considerable deviations and singular qualities. Whatever the truth the project has racked up over a dozen releases on several labels this year alone. Drain appears on the Dream Catalogue digital sister label Pyramids.

Several of BROKEN_CANYON's releases this year have referenced something she calls the Mektrix; seemingly a variation on the better known Hollywood trilogy and similarly to do with digitally mediated realities and questions of selfhood. Drain on the other hand is a relatively straightforward mini album of forward thinking dance floor orientated IDM and "Dream Punk" spattered ambient music. The title track which opens the record wouldn't sound out of place on one of Posh Isolation or Northern Electronics recent releases, as it scrambles R&B vocal ticks with cold ambient techno.

Dreaming of You is a brief straight-up deep house banger with resonant synth pads a plenty and a locked in groove that'll have you struggling to keep your feet still. Letter to Sangam (referencing the Manchester based dystopian ambient producer) is a swirling riff on downtempo techno with Trap influences running through it. Again there's some lovely touches but just as you begin to lock into the undulating groove the sound fades out. It's the same story with the next two tracks And... with its skittering glitchy percussion over fusion like bell tones and the gorgeous Infinite Fog which harnesses the elegiac beauty of early Rafael Anton Irisarri with post-vaporwave's love of FM synth sounds. It's here we get the briefest glimpse of Andrea's Americana influenced guitar playing. It's a real shame this song only last three minutes.

The longest track is the finale Sent Away which takes the desolate ambient sound previously cultivated and lashes it to Deepchord style dub-techno. Radar synths criss-cross the stereo field as the 4x4 beat ducks and dives beneath layers of reverberating electronic fug. The final few minutes are graced by a nicely squelchy acid lead. Not original by any stretch of the imagination, but certainly well executed. There's a lot of good ideas here that could do with being given a bit more time to develop. But there's enough here to suggest a promising future for this artist, whoever they really are.

Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5

Duncan Simpson
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