Iuengliss: Down Cosm EP
In some parts, IDM is a dirty word (acronym, if you prefer), but it clearly isn't in Tommy Metz's neck o' the woods. If anything, his latest Iuengliss collection Down Cosm (his follow-up to 2011's Blank Matter) puts the I back in IDM and in doing so almost makes the long-enduring genre seem fresh all over again. Metz shows himself to be a real ‘take no prisoners' kind of guy in opening the EP with a groaning slab of heaving beats and strafing synth fire (the minute-long intro “Slow Dot Cloud”) before getting down to business with the jitterbug fusillades of “Down Cosm.” The cut presents as strong an argument as any for his Iuengliss approach, which never veers so far into obsessive experimentalism that it loses sight of the importance of a good melody or two.
An interstellar vibe permeates the EP's material due to the preponderance of icy synthetics, but there's a raw rhythmic dimension that acts as a welcome counterpoint to the stargazing. So while one's sights are set on the dazzling meteor showers overhead during “Eying,” one's body feels resolutely grounded by the tune's lurching funk groove. The Iuengliss world is one of multiple colours and moods, too, as attested to when “Descent” takes a suitably darker plunge (without losing its funkiness in the process) and “Cognative Spawning” [sic], animated by a robust chug and besieged by relentless synth fire, wends a serpentine path through a blindingly bright hall of mirrors.
Ten tracks come with the thirty-nine-minute release, though four are identified as bonus cuts, among them a powerfully heavy “Descent” makeover by Scaffolding. Metz flexes his ambient muscles on occasion (e.g., the starry-eyed closer “Rapid Eye”) but for the most part opts for hard-hitting blends of synths and beats. One might think of Down Cosm as a portal not so much to a remote galaxy but to one closer to home, namely the kind of utopia promised by IDM in its earliest incarnation.