• Man From Sol - Fracture Cycles EP

    by Man From Sol

    September 17th, 2019

    Link

    The movement of historical time is catalyzed by the cycles of production that constitute our social totality. When these cycles and this linear march entwine and lose any semblance of mutual control, their inexorable trajectory is towards rupture. Emergent cycles of higher complexity and abstracted alienness to those of us subjected to them exacerbate the very dynamic from which they were borne, but offer the only way out: fracture.

    Background

    Fracture Cycles marks the second EP release under my Man From Sol alias, after my debut EP Away From Sol on oddlogic's Outlier Recordings. Fracture Cycles is out on Abstrakt Reflections, a netlabel that describes itself as follows:

    We watch for things more left-field, a creative space for abstract rhythms, otherworldly soundscapes and especially invention in electronic music today.

    We are open to anything else anyhow, devoted to high quality electronic music with a distinctive sound. Being creative and doing everything with heart is what we stand for.

    I was fortunate enough to grab the attention of c0ma, label boss, who very enthusiastically wanted to give Fracture Cycles a home on Abstrakt Reflections. The original EP was just the 5 tracks, however he encouraged me to put the release off a few months to have enough time to accrue quality remixes of each track. In addition to doing a remix himself, he also introduced me to Blockdata and Lokom, two veritable dons whose remixes blew me away. The other two remixes were from glitch.cool maestros oddlogic and CLAUDE. A couple of these remixes came out better than the original tracks, in my opinion, and all 5 of them together turn this EP into something special.

    Tracks

    Each track was something of an experiment for me to try to craft something musically I had not yet done before.

    Fracture Vectors was an attempt to fuse mostly synth-driven atmospherics with the typical glitchy and neuro-bass sound design I normally work with in a balanced fashion such that it didn't turn into a predominantly bass-driven track with some atmospherics or vice versa. Judicious use of reverb on the right elements really helped me dial in this dynamic.

    Vacuum Processor was two simultaneous challenges to myself: make a glitch track that did not have any neuro influences at all, and do something with the "trap" framework I had not heard before. Regarding the latter, I find the paradigm of "halftime rhythms with subby 808 kicks underneath" to be extremely versatile. There is a lot of room in the spectrum above the subs to do basically whatever, which in this case turned out to be the crunchy percussive glitch rhythms and drippy acid lines that constituted this track.

    Endlessly Tangent Cycles, being a drone/noise track, rather eschews my obsession with rhythm-driven tracks, instead focusing solely on texture (usually my tracks prioritize both). It was extremely rewarding to work with some familiar sound design techniques but in a completely different context.

    Black Box Cognition was much less sophisticated than the rest. I simply wanted to make a very intense halftime neuro track that had the same sense of urgency that DnB neurofunk normally carries with it. Of course, being primarily a glitch producer, the sound design is similarly broken and mangled as in most of my other work, but the key to this achieving this urgency was the high hats. I get the high-tempo engagement with the listener without having too much of my temporal space taken up by the more prominent drums. This leaves plenty of room for freely fluctuating bass warps punctuated by harsh glitch cuts.

    Outside Context stands out a bit on this EP as being a bit more rhythmically "fun" than the rest of the tracks. I was playing around with drum rhythms that did not cycle at the same rate as the other elements of the track, and I accidentally ended up with something resembling a reggaeton beat, which exists in a track that could not be more stylistically removed from reggaeton. Similarly to the first track, I wanted a healthy dose of atmospherics, but this time I did not try to do it at the expense of the neuro-style sound design elements and glitch motifs. Ultimately this track is absolutely bizarre and makes me ask myself what I was thinking at the time, but if anything I think that makes it all that much better.

    Regarding the remixes, I obviously cannot speak for the 5 remixers regarding their approach or thoughts on each track, but I can say I am 100% blown away with the way each turned out. Whether it is the intensity of Blockdata's remix of Fracture Vectors, the percussive intricacy of oddlogic's take on Vacuum Processor, CLAUDE's insanely imaginative reconstruction of Endlessly Tangent Cycles, c0ma's raw cinematic twist on Black Box Cognition, or Lokom's wacky mind-bending controlled chaos borne from Outside Context, it is humbling that my work enabled this level of creativity from these artists.

    Fun fact: I did not ask each of them to remix a different track so that there would be one remix of each, rather they each individually chose their track and it worked out perfectly such that each track would have its own remix.

    Conclusion

    Regarding the meaning of the track names and the description of the eponymous concept of fracture cycles, I will leave those unexplained. They obviously have meaning to me, but I will leave them up to interpretation by the listener. I think there is a certain charm in leaving these things under-explained. I hope you enjoy the EP as much as I enjoyed making it. It is available for free download on Abstrakt Reflections in whatever format you choose.