Production value counts for a lot in today’s music world. Many artists record their music in expensive recording studios with top of the range equipment and use professionals to tune their music to the best possible tone. Others like to keep it simple, record their music in home-made studios with relative simplicity. Andrew Morrison aka The Cyclist uses a £20 keyboard to create his music and puts a lot of emphasis on the lo-fi.
Derry native The Cyclist has returned with a seven track LP titled Flourish. In 2013, The Cyclist emerged with his debut LP Bones In Motion which was released on Leaving Records. Last year’s LP was a 15-track blockbuster, a highly energetic creative explosion that galvanized some forgotten sounds. Andrew said that he wanted his music to be different, to sample and overdub to the point of originality. Through his production style and use of murky distortion, the artist created himself a unique platform to build upon. New LP Flourish grows from this foundation, keeping true to his ‘Tape Throb’ genera, but adding some more attractive aspects.
“Tage Grunge Rave”:
Flourish is a slow starter, you are hardly thrown into this album as you might hope, instead it groans and blurts into life with first track “Ripples Through Ice“. The thick muddy synth does little to invigorate its listener or even hold their attention. When track two “Sand Dunes” starts, a similar sound reemerges, but as the song continues some beams of light can be seen. A faster beat and the moulding of the synth into something a little more interesting sees the LP coming to life.
This album only rises to full prominence with what comes next, “Tage Grunge Rave“. A mastery of 90’s rave and 80’s disco smothered in the distorted fog of ‘The Cyclist’. The artist has been accredited as a producer who can create homemade electronic music that you can still dance to. It is only once you have arrived here in the album that the need to dance starts to scratch its itch.
After the progressive, hectic, si-fi epic of “Break Through“, which sounds like The Terminator on acid, we arrive at probably the most crowd-pleasing song of the LP. “Tage Grunge Rave” had a rave-anthem quality to it but penultimate track “Daisy Spirals” is one for the masses. Remaining shrouded under its lo-fi distorted blanket, light cords, a pumping-clapping beat and extraordinarily cool dance riff shine through. This is a high quality summer anthem, a chart climbing party hit, but it is a record covered in dust. The beat, the tune, the rises and falls are all the makings of a quality dance tune, but Andrew has stayed true to his style, and that style is dirty and lo-fi.
Last track “Flourish” fits the artists identity more snuggly, the gritty distorted bass occasionally accompanied with drum & bass drums, deep synth or sometimes left to its own accord, sounds at home in its misty cage of the ‘Tape Throb’ genera.
All City Records describes the record as “lo-fi but not cheap, D.I.Y but not primitive, dancey but not clubby, 4-4 but not straight“, also recognising that the LP “may fit into a lot of genres but doesn’t fully belong in any“.
This s a good way of promoting an album that is neither here nor there. The samples, sounds and structure of the songs displays the ability of the producer but the overlapping smog reviles the quality of his instruments. For much of the album, this self-induced suffocation gives otherwise simple songs a more gritty identity, but in the case of “Tage Grunge Rave” and “Daisy Spirals” it works only as a chain. If these songs could be freed from there lead, their potential could truly be fulfilled.
Purchase: The Cyclist – Flourish (iTunes)