Boomkat Product Review:
I don't mean it lightly when I say that 'Cycla' is my favourite release on the incredible Spekk label. The almost flawless catalogue is all worth checking out in finer detail, but 'Cycla' from British artist Level aka Barry G Nichols just goes that little bit deeper, that little bit further into the psyche. Similar to many of the other Spekk releases, the record is minimal for want of a better description, and comparable to much of 12k's recent output, however Nichols has forged a distinct sound in an indistinct world, and using manipulated instrument recordings, synthesized tones and environmental sounds he forges alien landscapes and glacial atmospheres. Nichols describes the way he works as 'sculpting with sound', as he works into the music (for instance piano chords) as if it were a block of granite, chiselling at frequencies until we are left with something beautiful, human and unique. This all might be beginning to sound a little academic and dry, but honestly that is everything 'Cycla' manages to avoid at times sounding closer to Cliff Martinez's crucial 'Solaris' soundtrack or the more textured work of Deaf Center than to the difficult, stripped down experiments into silence you could be expecting. All the sounds become so dense and eroded that Nichols reaches an almost Deathprod level of Zen; you can hear that there are layers and multiple elements in the music just about, but it is all shrouded in a fog of distorted sound. It would be fruitless to go into any detail about the tracks individually as this is an album with an arc that needs to be listened to in its entirety, it doesn't have stand out tracks or dull moments rather it is a satisfying and hugely involving listening experience from the moment you hit play until the closing gasps. To put it simply you need this record, fans of William Basinski, Taylor Deupree, Pjusk, Kenneth Kirschner et al should look no further. Huge recommendation.