Boomkat Product Review:
A previously unreleased bounty of ’87-’93 bleep techno, trance, ambient, noise and breakbeats by synf boffin Dave Burraston’s cult NYZ project - an unmissable haul for fans of early AFX, Autechre/Lego Feet, FSOL/Humanoid, Mappa Mundi - newly minted on The Death Of Rave.
Following his mind-bending ’SHFTR FRQ’ LP for The Death of Rave in 2018, the award-winning, UK-born and Aussie-based artist/scientist excavates his HD from a golden era when synf and computer music boffins were building the future in bedroom studios, using then early versions of Cubase and Amiga software to establish the templates for decades of rave and electronic dance music to come. However, like a rare, mutant dinosaur skeleton that doesn’t fit historic models, NYZ’s unarchiving of ‘OLD TRX [87-93]’ offers a complex and unusually chaotic range of ideas for this era - from meditation tape-sampling downbeats to nutty proto-speed garage and animated noise - that plays out like a comic book or pulpy sci-fi narrative and smartly showcases the breadth of Dave’s prized imagination and technical nous.
In 11 parts arranged for a properly immersive listen, ‘OLD TRX [87-93]’ wends from squashed ‘80s cyberpunk sci-fi in ‘damage’ to the hypnagogic swag of ‘self_hypnotic_tapez’ via a spectrum of mutant dance floor and avant oddities alongside a bezerker breakbeat razz in ‘patheticsocialmisfits’ and what sounds like proto-speed garage in the warped bass of ‘flatline’. But he never uses the same drum pattern twice, and thanks to the inclusion of wildcards such as the scorching noise piece ‘JP4_PhonosonicsRM_DRN’ and the sleazy proto-trance of ‘CEZbulgan’, the sequencing ideally lends itself to jacked-in headphone mooches as much as domestic and raving use.
The results are surely comparable to the haunting early rave and ambient sound of AFX’s ‘SAW 85-92’ as much as the freaky ideas found on Brian Dougans’ proto-FSOL project, Humanoid ‘Sessions 84-88’, or the hardcore breakbeat ruggedness of Autechre’s Legofeet, yet all done with a trippy sound design and time-out-of-joint feel that’s singular to this remarkable record, and speaks to the artist’s wealth of experience; from his role as a BT trouble-shooter in the ‘70s, to his work on landscape-sized sound art installations, and his legendary ’SYROBONKERS’ interview with Richard D. James. It’s an immensely enjoyable and enigmatic album sure to spark ravenous interest with old and yung skool ravers and electronic music fiends.