Cignol :: Hidden Galaxies (Computer Controlled)

Five tracks make up the Dublin musician’s trip up North to Belfast based Computer Controlled Music with the first offering having a decent bit of fire in its belly.

It’s always exciting to find a new artist, feverishly searching through their past releases on Discogs and getting better acquainted on Soundcloud. There’s always a little niggling sense of shame to counter that initial joy, as in “how come I didn’t hear this before?”, or “I should have heard this before.” My truant schoolchild moment came after hearing Cignol’s contribution to Analogical Force’s Voiceless Y, a melting work of analogue bubblebath style electronics. My sense of guilt deepened when I realized Cignol was a fellow Irishman. Be that as it may, we’re making up for this blind spot, this audio myopia, as Hidden Galaxies arrives on shelves.

Five tracks make up the Dublin musician’s trip up North to Belfast based Computer Controlled Music with the first offering having a decent bit of fire in its belly. “Final Approach” billows in from the heavens, thudding towards the earth with bold basslines and acid electricity. Marrying elements of braindance and electro the track pulses with Drexciyan energy, cruising on dark and mysterious currents. With a title like “Galway Acid 333” I had expected some watery, liquidy, squelchy and altogether soaked piece of 303 tomfoolery (Galway’s a fairly inclement spot for anyone wondering), and I wasn’t disappointed. Cignol’s trademark silver box sound is present, as it is across the 12”, but so are delicate keys that lift this piece into something very special. Another side of this multifaceted artist’s talent is one display on the flip. “No Reply from 806” is a cold yet detailed and lush work of machine music. Frigid sounds are offset by warmer squeaks and squeals in a superb piece. “Submerged Aegis” maps an electrical ebb and flow. Aquatic notes bob on a flotsam and jetsam of bleep and hi-hats before its true complexity is unfurled. “Sunken Cities” keeps the lost, under the waves, motif rolling. Burbling bass balances sky seeking synthlines in this richly textured ode.

It’s with a bit of a heavy heart that I write this, Hidden Galaxies is not just one of the best releases I’ve ever heard from an Irish musician; it’s one of the best records I have heard in 2018. And the heavy heart? Well, I’m kicking myself to have missed his early releases. Although time cannot be turned back, a pledge can be made; I will be keeping a close ear on this Dublin lad, and my advice would be to do the same.

Hidden Galaxies is available on Computer Controlled.

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