Cex: Evargreaz
Automation Records

Having gone through multiple metamorphoses in the dozen years since he introduced the project (including stints as a rapper and as a three-piece jam band), Cex (Rjyan Kidwell) returns to his instrumental-IDM roots on this very satisfying cassette release for Automation Records (also available in a digital format), though evidence of his naughty side is clearly suggested by photos on the hand-made cardboard sleeve that show an x-acto knife dangerously close to a little boy's throat. Provocative imagery aside, the four melodic instrumentals on Evargreaz present Cex at his most user-friendly and in a more-than-digestible EP-length running time.

Like a contentedly whirring clock device, “Ily” winds itself up with a mini-jewel of IDM-styled intricacy with a jovial mix of carnival melodies, shredded voices, and hiccuping beat swing. Waves of synthesizers surge forward, the whole thing feeling like a ship lunging forward and struggling to avoid capsizing in the face of ever-building waves. Turning the lights down a tad, “November Reign” opts for a more laid-back blend of vocodered murmurings and gently swinging percussion rhythms. Playful and buoyant, the B-side's “Day of 1000 Radiant Suicides” is nowhere near as dour as its title suggests, and if anything its nimble-footed keyboard patterns (as calming as a piece by Steve Reich's group) and carefree air make it an ideal piece for a dance troupe. The release's light-hearted mood is perpetuated by “Weedlessness,” which happily dishes out more gleeful melodies and tick-tock beats as the EP sails off into the sunset in search of Kidwell's next incarnation, whatever that might be.

April 2011