The Aphex Twin references come pretty quickly when Brainwaltzera’s name comes up. When he released his EP Aescoba earlier this year, there were so many Aphex DNA strands running through the tracks that there was a rumour it was another Richard D James alias.
The rumours were compounded when Aphex left some glowing comments on Brainwaltzera’s Soundcloud page. But if RDJ can track down a Dublin teenager to a housing estate and get him to direct a video for his Cheetah EP, what’s to stop him skulking around other anonymous producers’ sites?
Even before the music is addressed, there’s a definite Warp/Rephlex/Braindance edge to Poly-Ana, from its bold line-drawn cover, to its track titles that read like programming language, full of brackets and seemingly playful non-sequiturs and analogue synth references.
And for anyone with a memory of the classic 90s Warp releases, Poly-Ana is an immediate electronic comfort blanket, with Kurrytee (Midi_2_CV) opening the record with soft-focus synth folds and scuffed metallic percussion nodding to Boards of Canada. Second track Smit has similar raw materials for its leads, but the lush melody is offset by mangled vocal samples and alien chirps.
(Take 1) is a beatless fever dream that could easily be an interlude on Druqks, while Triangulate Dither (Night More Sleepy Version) and Mixolydian Transition go down the Polygon Window route of dark metallic percussion softened by melancholy keys to hold on to, while Kurzweil Dame sounds like it was knocked into shape from the bare bones of a track on Clark’s Totem’s Flare.
The Pollyanna Principle – or positivity bias – is a psychological phenomenon describing the tendency for people recalling pleasant memories more clearly than unpleasant ones, and this record really does feel like a classic mid-90s IDM mood piece, crucially without turning to slavish pastiche.
More often, seemingly familiar melodic paths are coaxed into disorienting corners with next-level beat patterns, from the warped flanged handclaps on Carniblurr.Lane , to the jagged drum & bass of Yamaha Hills and the giddy arrhythmia of Frikandel. It’s a good hint that Brainwaltzera may be using the classics as his foundation, but he has no problem knocking a few walls through while he’s at it.