12" Vinyl UK
Who is Bit Folder? There have been whispers about the identity of Central Processing Unit's latest signing, and many theories have been presented as to who's behind the project. Some say it's a young upstart fresh on the scene, others insist that this is the work of an old head. Either way, initial investigations have proven inconclusive, and the Bit Folder project remains shrouded in mystery.
There may be a way to untangle the Bit Folder riddle through listening to the artist's new EP Silicon Frontier. There is classic early Warp in here, a dash of Rephlex too. More contemporary styles also come to mind - FireScope, the label helmed by B12's Steven Rutter, and Analogical Force are two of the imprints recalled, and Bit Folder also shares some space with fellow CPU artists Datassette, Noumen and the aforementioned B12.
What's for sure is that Silicon Frontier is a futuro-rave adventure that conjures up the brave new world hinted at by its title. Like the classic 90s techno/IDM that it channels, this record gleams with the sounds of the android future. Keyboards glisten and shimmer, their tones at once stargazing and hallucinogenic; hi-hats open and close like steam valves; synth lines move in and out of each other to create all these lovely little cells of melody. Some tracks even play with tempo itself, beats glitching or slowing down completely as if you've just dropped a dose of (electro-)soma, but Bit Folder always manages to snap them back into place just as they seem to be breaking apart. For an artist's debut release it is very deft production - but then again, could it be that we've heard from Bit Folder before?
Silicon Frontier kicks off with 'Youka', a 150-bpm IDM-techno number that squiggles and squirms like AFX in Analord mode. The title-track follows, its beautiful opening zooming out into a unique melange of wobbling bass and final-frontier keyboards. 'The Tritan Cord' pushes us further out into deep space - there's something very Drexciyan about this track, though rather than pure revivalism 'The Tritan Cord' in fact displays the kind of dense worldbuilding we see in the work of Gerald Donald and James Stinson, its dinky synth lines and whirring drums sliding and out of one another to create a cinematic dancefloor trip. Silicon Frontier closes out with 'Legs Akimbo', a speedy number that injects those same chirruping drums/synths with the playful energy of DMX Krew and Squarepusher.
Even while it channels the sounds of some of electro's most important sites - Detroit, London, CPU's native Sheffield - Bit Folder's debut EP Silicon Frontier still manages to sound fresh and new. Now, if only there was some way to discern the man behind the mask… [info sheet from distr.]