When electronic shoegaze was at its height with the likes of M83, Metrik and Phantogram, dreamy IDM was brought into that fold and became more pop for a while. The late 00s were rife with these dream pop/IDM mashups. A return to heavier, bass-laden EDM-inspired ambient electronica has been popular in the 2010s thanks to the popularity of dubstep and halftime, but, but this year some new acts have emerged, creating a different kind of hybrid. Reflexson.
Houston-based producer Paul Cox has been involved in both EDM and IDM for a long time as he is the owner of the famed 226 Productions. He has been instrumental in shaping a number of different styles of electronic music over the past ten eyars or so, and now he is striking out with his own project as Reflexson. The project pairs IDM-style synths and ambient waves with recognizable EDM beats and then brings in an indie vibe comes with ambient flourishes, slower tempos and old school vocals. There’s even a guitar or two, adding a sort of Ratatat or Cut Copy feel.
The opening track on It’s Broken, “Shattered,” has a number of indie rock elements: an analog drum kit and a sort of Hawaiian-sounding guitar flourish. “Disconnected,” however, and it’s a very clear breakbeat which opens and carries the song. Here there are elements of Kraftwerk-like vocals mixes with synths that sound like guitars, giving the track a Ratatat-like feel. “Disconnected” also has a couple of breaks that go into dubstep as a beat structure. “Knocktover,” meanwhile, goes almost fully experimental dream pop and “Hammered Down” is a great example of on-the-nose IDM. The album closes with the highly complex “Frame Break,” which is an apt title because Cox seems to be out to break every beat frame or structure he can get a hold of.
It’s a good thing that It’s Broken only has five tracks, because it’s a real thinker of an EP. It can be enjoyed for its tunes and vibes, but it seems that for those willing to listen, there’s certainly a good deal of “intelligent” in Reflexson’s IDM.