Music News

Alphabets

400YEN, a five-track release from Alphabets, plays like the soundtrack to a robot-noir film. The title tune, a stylistic permutation of psychedelic DIY traptronica, is densely packed with gritty 808 bass frequencies and claustrophobic synth flickers that evoke a sense of place in the form of streetlights reflecting on the surface of back-alley puddles on a cold night. "On air silk tooth," meanwhile, washes over the scene until intermittent, gunshot-like claps shatter the sanctuary of angelic synths. The scene has been set, and now the action begins: An army of nano-bots work in unison to commit burglaries. The intrigue continues to unfold across "museum security" and "hair pilot," the latter of which sounds like the result of Autechre getting locked in a carnival funhouse overnight. "Waver" closes things out with a glitched-out, circuit-bent cousin of dancehall and tropicalia. The only things missing are credits rolling at the end.

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Patrick Rodgers