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Xenia Reaper - Luvaphy

Xenia Reaper - Luvaphy

Regular price £24.00 GBP
Regular price Sale price £24.00 GBP
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Label: INDEX:Records – INDEX014
Format: Vinyl, LP, Stereo
Country: Germany
Released: Mar 29, 2024
Genre: Electronic
Style: Ambient, Drum & Bass, IDM, Experimental

In a modernist convolution of cybernetic realness and breaks essence, Berlin-based producer Xenia Reaper crystallises their debut full length album on Glasgow’s INDEX:Records, following a handful of EPs and singles on their own Xenoplex label and INDEX sub-label Appendix.Files.

From the outset, ‘Luvaphy’ builds a sinewy framework of drum and bass errata, utilising non-traditional percussion toolkits collaged against perfected synth lushness. Reaper’s work is seamlessly mixed, whilst effortlessly radiating in a subtle haze of internet 2.0 sonics, detached and encased in a kind of stoned austerity.

We’re introduced to Reaper’s world-building with the dreamt Blu-ray waft and black hole subs of ‘Within’, quickly giving way to the title track’s futurist d’n’b pointillism over clouds of ambience and the insistence of a disembodied human voice. Whatever sound is replacing hi-hats here feels encrusted in YouTube artefacts, chattering brightly above undulating digital glaze and muscular kick drum programming.

23724’s scalpelled collage and diced granular suction pumps in another direction altogether, forgoing any structured rhythmic tropes of club music. Fascinatingly segueing into the fanfare of ciphered low dialogue, deep synth misting and plummeting bass events, ‘Sued’ eventually develops into a truly incendiary breaks flex.

By the time we reach ‘MxB’ 6 tracks in, Reaper treats us to the most trad junglist rhythm on the album, all filtered breaks and gleaming organ repetitions - well worth the journey through landscapes of snapped looping and amphibious squelch (see ‘Lust05’) toward the core of this release. ‘Lllaao3’ is an unrestrained workout, maybe the album’s most dancefloor friendly tune; phasing deeply like Basic Channel but in a world they never took on.

Thrillingly, ‘Luvaphy’ contracts into the wormhole of its two closing tracks, which are perhaps its strongest and most adventurous. The redacted cadence of ‘Squarpy’ is punctuated by sounds conjuring the onomatopoeia of its name, malfunctioning into ‘Glazed’s staccato shards of cybernetic femininity - an unbuoyed romantic dalliance recorded on a replicant's corrupted RAM, smoking last cigarettes on a dying battery.

Easy comparisons could link Reaper’s work to recent lineages along the M.E.S.H./Visionist/PAN axis, but could it be a subtle extrapolation on R&S’s 90s ambient imprint Apollo whereby, in alternate timeline, Biosphere’s Geir Jenssen was raised on YouTube rather than his VHS collection?

Review by Simon Karis

A1. Within
A2. Luvaphy
A3. 23724
A4. Sued
A5. Lust05
B1. MxB
B2. Lllaao3
B3. Squarpy
B4. Glazed

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