Masterful, austere, and stripped back electronic musicians in their own right; Carsten Nicolai and Ryoji Ikeda reunite for a second cyclo. album, after a decade-long hiatus. The cyclo. sound is as monomaniacal and extreme as any album by Sunn 0))), Skullflower or KTL Ã¢â‚¬â€œ whereas distortion and sludge-dynamics are the bedrock of these acts, the pure, clean sine waves and fierce bass pulses of cyclo. produce a similarly disorientating and extemporaneous effect. id is more muscular and pummelling throughout than their self-titled debut from 2001, many of the tracks here have a curious danceability and digital funk in their DNA. Other R-N artists may have hinted at this previously, without providing the percussive body-hits and synapse strafing high-pitched earworms that the pairing of Nicolai and Ikeda deliver on id. Unfortunately, I don’t posses an Oscilloscope, which would allow an appreciation of the visual side of these pure, unmastered waveforms. Live, cyclo. shows create a level of stimulus rarely see in electronic music, with the intricate meshing of the electronic rhythms and hyper-digital visualisations.
“id#05” comes across with some drill n’bass dislocation in the style of vintage Squarepusher or Jega, complete with a nasty bass whump. There’s no silly samples or slap bass in sight, just a room full of malfunctioning machinery. The insistent high-pitched rhythms and muscular kicks of “id#01” remind me of LFO’s bleep and bass attack, just with a lot more computing power. After nearly five minutes of a phased, razor-sharp digital onslaught, programmed by Stromtroopers and Daleks for the end times, the silence at the end of “id#06” nearly made me jump. The powers that be at R-N headquarters obviously think that “id#06″ has crossover potential, including it on the limited 12” version, which compiles four tracks off id for some late-night wooze-inducing sonics. In the manner that Autechre and Pansonic can seem cold, impersonal and norm-baiting, cyclo.’s stereo signals beam out to hermetic IDM headz and headphonic supernaturalists alike.