Boomkat Product Review:
As one of the standout projects unveiled by the excellent but sadly now defunct /\ \ Aught label (2014-2015), Xth Réflexion’s /\ \ 05 + /\ \ 06 tapes transmitted some of the most enigmatic dub techno mutations since Chain Reaction kicked the bucket in 2003. Now brought to vinyl by a mysterious new label, Chained Library, we’re given a firmly tangible, if decidedly elusive reminder of Xth Réflexion’s raving, abstract excellence here.
Collecting /\ \ 05 + /\ \ 06 in their entirety - 10 tracks to be precise - Xth Réflexion’s first vinyl plunges listeners into a world of kinetic dub ephemera, feeling out a grayscale palette of cracked rhythms, silty chords and atmospheric grit with a sublime appreciation of flux and drift that feels to emulate the sensation or dynamic of brownian motion with an intoxicating appeal akin to the systolic diffusion of opioids or air-con in a sparsely furnished, humid room.
They scale and skid between tempos with naturally fluid agility, sucking us in with the flux of acousmatic source material, strobing dub rhythms and coruscating noise in 01 before winding up the tightly coiled, double-time flex of highlight, 02 and jabbing out the panicked underwater coda of 04 on the first disc, before the 2nd wraps up wickedly restless square bass squirm and rhythmic noise in 05 and 06, along with the desiccated structures of 07, plus the Voices From The Lake-style roil of 08 and the Lee Gamble-like immersion 10.
Striking the finest balance between abstraction and just-about-buoyant dub function, they are, by some distance, the best examples we’ve heard crawl out of the whole grey area in the last few years. A really strong look for anyone looking for solutions to grid-locked rhythm and sound problems.
P.S. if you’re worried about the packaging affecting the fidelity of the vinyl, we’re pretty sure that’s supposed to be the point, especially considering that the originals were presented on tape.