Wednesday, 28 April 2021


CRYSTAL — Reflection Overdrive


CRYSTAL’s music always feels a little bit like constructivist art: A red triangle here, a blue square there, a black squiggle or two, all set in arrangements of bold, jagged simplicity. Accordingly, that’s how ‘Phantom Gizmo’ erupts into view, unfolding rapidly with staccato orchestra hits like a transforming robot. A collage of beats like crazy scaffolding waltzes throughout; MIDI bass (composed by Stephen Bruner, aka Thundercat) pops and gallops.

But the Tokyo-based duo (Sunao Maruyama and Ryota Miyake) elevate the track into something more than its vital foundations. Though synth stutters and the heavily vocodered vocals keep some parts lively and minimalist, other sections of ‘Phantom Gizmo’ seem to soar into the sky, the blocky buildings of the bass and beat immersed in pastel fog and indistinct video game visions. Cue virtuoso leads wiggling into through the soft-yet-hard space of the song with all the joy of an artist’s paintbrush.

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