THE INFANT CYCLE
Old Plus Four
the ceiling aural supplies
1) Dancemix 2) danceMix 3) Tulpa 4) Resulting Behavior 5) Spraints 6) Artificial Barnyard 7) Excedrin Commercial 8) Floatland 9) Crashland
One of the more interesting aspects of Jim DeJong's solo project is that one cannot, with detailed accuracy, adequately predict where each new Infant Cycle release will end up. Some older recordings feature a distinct rhythmatic approach, while others concentrate on morphing slow moving soundscapes in various directions. Old Plus Four is starting point for new listeners, complete with purposely out-synched beat loops (Tulpa, Dancemix) and self-mutating darkish ambience (Excedrin Commercial, Artificial Barnyard). While some purists may argue that this product does not hold it's own ground by re-releasing deleted pieces from discontinued cassettes (DDT's Dancemix and Tulpa), Old Plus Four still sounds fresh today as some of these tracks did back in 1996. Comparisons to bigger names like Oval are common when describing the clicky-hop rhythms of the first few tracks on the CD, however TIC's fuzzy and dystopian approach make each loop his own, while carefully (and somewhat successfully) hinting at the original sources of some of the beats. Although each TIC product can be hailed as some form of masterpiece, Old Plus Four scores extra points by being first a CD release (which will please the cassette hating crowd) and secondly by being nothing less than perfect from the starting point to the finish line. An excellent foray into the digital realm as well as a great introductory poiny for curious and new listeners wanting to familiarise themselves with one of Canada's more overlooked bands.
After numerous cassettes, The Infant Cycle's first CDR is finally out. The release is comprised of music from two deleted tape singles (Dancemix and Tulpa) along with new tracks, hence the title. It's pretty difficult to describe a TIC release, as he's always working on something different. One thing's a fact though: he's always into challenging and experimental music (thank God!!!). You'll find a good variety of sounds at work here: layers of non-midi rhythms, scratched hip hop records, tones, feedback, radio/tape manipulations, unknown sound sources etc. It is an amazingly well-constructed soundwork, some pieces are jarring while others are more soothing. They're soothing without going into ambient territory, they feel more meditative indeed. An impressive release, no doubt. Recommended to lovers of unconventional music. A definite adventure for the more open minded individual. I can't wait to hear some more.
Eric Bourret/Francois Marceau
In A Bind
Well, I've searched high and low and I still can't figure out what to call this. Power electronics fits sometimes. Rhythmic noise fits at other times. Experimental techno occasionally. I'm at a loss as far as labels are concerned.
Using turntables(?), sequencers(?) and other objects which I'm not even going to try and determine, The Infant Cycle creates rhythmic spikes of noise, sometimes over a barely recognizable drum beat.
All in all, a very driving, energetic listen. The flow is a little disjointed in spots but it's because this disc is a re-release of a number of singles from '96-'98. Finally, the artwork and packaging is very well done, better than most CDR's I've seen. It's limited to 100 copies so jump on this one quick.
The Infant Cycle releases a compendium of tracks taken from past releases and throws some unreleased tracks in to present "Old Plus Four". The most worthy word I can use to describe initial reaction to this cd is "interesting".
Yes, that is a bland word that could have thousands of meanings, but I can't really find anything else to sum up the tracks. Variance, at least for me, is a key ingredient in flavor in any release. The Infant Cycle apparantly knew this, as this is a spicy mix of tracks. Imagine a toned down and much less muddy Nurse With Wound with the occasional erratic beat added. In nature and in structure, this could be categorized as a "noise" release although it is nicely minimal and atmospheric at times. The sounds and beats possess a cut-up quality as if they were constructed using old-fashioned reel-to-reel tapes in an almost random manner. The variations and frantic texture changes make this a nice solid release.
Are you in the mood for some really WEIRD
industrial? Get this. I am not too big on the "rave" scene as I may have
told you before, but somehow at the same time I actually do like a lot
of techno music. The only connection between The Infant Cycle and
the "rave" variety of techno is the loops, in the first song "Dancemix
1". The rest is a collage of quirky artificial drums, clattering funk
noises, crumpled layers of ambience, deconstructed(and reconstructed)
breakbeats, and so forth. This CD is actually a collection of singles
released between 1996 and 1998. The liner notes instruct the listener
to press "stop" after one song ends and then press "play" to hear the
next, which is strange but it adds to the bizarre nature of the music.
"Dancemix 2" follows with this incredible warped "dripping" sound effect,
shadowed by a buzzing "hum" noise that sounds like your refrigerator if
you recorded it and then played it in reverse. Things slowly crawl towards
an alien ambience in "Resulting Behavior"; soft and cloud-like drones
hovering through a sparking, mechanized mess of audio circuitry, like
an unloved robot left to decompose in a cruel rainshower. "Spraints" is
more along the lines of HEAVY drum-and-bass, with flashes of trance techno
and noise. The same kind of sentient drone(like the sound of a slowly
awakening meta-human) creeps through this piece. 4 more songs follow,
"Artificial Barnyard", "Excederin Commercial", "Float Land", and "Crash
Land". The Infant Cycle are 100 years ahead of their time, absolutely
flawless and original industrial music! 100/100
Here is a journey offered to all of those who might want to come along for the ride. "Old Plus Four" by The Infant Cycle (one of Canada's best known and respected experimental acts) is a collection of soundscapes that quickly transport the listener to a fascinating alien landscape. The pieces are both caustic and introspective, rhythmic and freeform, organic and inorganic. Credit must be given to Jim DeJong, Doomsday Transmissions and Austenite Recordings for making this type of material available- this is weird, hypnotic excursions to a dimension less travelled. It almost brings to mind the "Ralf and Florian" era of Kraftwerk.
"Old Plus Four" is comprised of new and previously released material from the DDT label, spanning from 1996-1998. It is a masterfully produced example of "sound as art", where emphasis is placed on experimentation over formula. The end result is daring and engaging- and exceptional example of sound chemistry.
Rather unhinged electronica from some strange mind. All the elements are actually there; four on the floor rhythms, repeating synth lines, etc., but there is something quite twisted and off about the sound. you can't really dance, or even kind of bop around to this stuff at all. It's really too square-whelled for that, more head music than body music. These are some of the most intriguing clunks, clicks and blips I've heard in quite a while. Me, I'd say it's pretty cutting-edge stuff, not really at the forefront of technology, per se... but certainly ahead of the game in terms of structure.
The Infant Cycle is the musical project of Jim DeJong, manager of one of the most importatn independent Canadian tape labels, Doomsday Transmissions. "Old Plus Four" is a collection of five tracks from older material ('96 "Dancemix", '97 "Tulpa") plus four new previously unreleased tracks (as the title itself claims!). Musically, it is basically an experimental-electronics-noisy-concrete-trippy oriented mesh of moods and sounds. The CD-R (re-)edition will deprive you of the side-switching experience of the "single" format, but after all, as Jim suggests you can still "press 'stop' and then 'play' after every track"!
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