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Kixly’s Tape-looped MP3s

It’s worth taking the title of Kixly‘s new Cyan Recs EP release, Lossless Tape-loops in Pop Form, at face value. All six of its tracks appear to have been built from brief snatches of audio recordings, which are looped and gingerly layered to within humming distance of song form. The sound and title of the third track exemplify the album’s modus operandi. “Givers [On Danceable Rhythms] Morning Ritual [On Atmosphere] Band Hammer [On Bass] (Kixly R3M1><)” suggests three found elements each serving as a different segment of the song — and that is very much how it functions. There’s an opening chunk of apparent field recording that risks turning potential listeners away with its entrenched skipping-record looping. Then, about a minute and a half in, a rhythmic counterpoint enters, and later still there’s a kind of cash-register funk added. For many listeners, five and a half minutes of such a thing may be a serious test of patience, but once you give yourself over to Kixly’s restraint, it’s quite beautiful.

The modest materials on Lossless Tape-loops don’t necessitate rigor and asceticism. “Latidos de Familia (Fax Gaseosa Dub Mix),” on which the album ends, is downright lush, a nocturnal techno infused with slow waves of melody.  And “Hollow Trees and Bird of Woods” has a quiet, creaky groove that’s truly addictive. Despite the tape-loop source material, this is no lo-fi affair; all six tracks are encoded at a healthy 320kbps. The full set is available as an archive, including cover art and brief liner notes, from the releasing netlabel, cyanrecs.com (ZIP).

One note about design: The cover, which features a reflective sphere that’s either a Christmas-tree ornament or an Anish Kapoor sculpture (the color resembles Kapoor’s telltale pomegranate/plum), comes in two variations. There’s the one pictured above, as well as the same image with the song titles printed alongside. The one with song titles is labeled “print” while the one without, clearly intended to be viewed at a reduced size, is labeled “ipod.”

By Marc Weidenbaum

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