Release Date: Mar 20, 2012
Record label: Planet Mu
Genre(s): Electronic, Club/Dance, Experimental Techno, Ambient Techno
What kind of images do the words "Neo-Geocities" and "Angel Fire" conjure up for you? If you're old enough to remember dial-up and Live Journal, then you'll probably have enough memories of Web 1.0 to join the dots here. The fact the third track on The Host is called "Internet Archeology" should help to complete the picture. The Host is an album obsessed with the noise of the nascent internet years, the particular brand of electronic music taken to the realms of high art on countless releases from Warp and Planet Mu.
Barry Lynn has always had a ‘melting pot’ approach to making electronic music. Since his first release back in 2005, the Northern Irish producer has had considerable success skirting the borders of 2-step, dubstep and electronica under his Boxcutter moniker, but his greatest creations defy the genre boundaries, rather than offering up any sort of generic fare. Glyphic (2006), for instance - a favourite of mine - did something deep and original within the dubstep mould without using predicable LFOs and preposterously large snare drums.
The Host is the new alias of Irish producer Barry Lynn, who has been toiling under the Boxcutter moniker since the middle of the last decade. Boxcutter offered a variant, but mostly undistinguished take on techno and bass music that nonetheless found fans in labels like Hotflush and Planet Mu (who released four Boxcutter albums and another under Lynn's own name). The Host's signing was announced by Planet Mu label owner Mike Paradinas, somewhat mysteriously, in January.
A quick search of the internet reveals a scarcity of information about The Host, a new signing to label Planet Mu, unveiled by Mike Paradinas by way of a tweet on January 21. Such a lack of intelligence about the release begets a sense of mystery; it seems secretive and decidedly impenetrable. The firmest foothold in the pursuit for some context is the publication that the man behind The Host is Northern Irish Barry Lynn — better known as Boxcutter — who has already released a number of albums with Planet Mu, namely Oneiric (2006), Glyphic (2007), Arecibo Message (2009), and The Dissolve (2011).
Mining neighbouring territory to Rustie's recent Glass Swords, this self-titled disc by the Host erupts similarly into cartoon rainbows made from Day-Glo synth swoops, thin drums and melted bass slaps. There's a bit more urgency, yet conversely, there's also a ripened dreaminess to the Host's work; his drum programming draws heavily on the neurotic syncopation of his Juke-deconstructionist label-mates on Planet-Mu. But the spastic stammer of quasi-808 drums cuts through a mysterious dubwise tapestry of various elements, instead of the bright, crystalline structures heard on the aforementioned Glass Swords.
Although the press releases have been careful to remain mum on the subject, The Host is the latest project from Irish producer Barry Lynn, aka Boxcutter, who has been crafting singular bass music for over five years now. While it’s clear that this album has an intelligible place in Lynn’s catalog, it is ambitious in its attempts to exist as a fully and completely realized artistic project. Percussively, in true Net-age fashion, the Host borrows from a number of different electronic dance sources to collage a unique sound, but its backbone comes primarily from the increasingly trendy Chicago juke scene.