The term 'tourbillon' has two meanings - it is the French word for "whirlwind" and also a device used in watchmaking to improve the accuracy of a timepiece. Both definitions feel apt when listening to Tourbillon, the latest release on Central Processing Unit from Australian producer Tim Koch. Following on from Koch's CPU debut Spinifex back in 2018 - an album that initially emerged via minidisc - Tourbillon is a four-track EP which dazzles with its perpetual-motion post-IDM productions.
These tracks draw you into their webs by forming dense interlocking sonic patterns over the course of several minutes. While the rhythmic programming and lattice of alien percussion tones can appear discombobulating at first, Koch also bewitches the listener with the slyly melodic synth work that he laces throughout Tourbillon.
Opening track 'Estranger' is a fine example of this combination. The first section here is a blend of blown-out drum sounds which comes off like an industrial electro tune run through a meat grinder. However, the track soon blossoms with the introduction of some amazingly atmospheric synth pads, and the two contrasting elements come together for a strange and rather beautiful whole.
'Estranger' finds a mirror-image in Tourbillon's final cut 'Hankert', a track in which more of those gurgling percussive tones play off the rich chord progressions that chirrup away in the background. Between 'Estranger' and 'Hankert' we get two propulsive grooves in the form of 'Disfugue' and 'Dreitark'.
How, then, to contextualize such unique material? Calum Gunn's recent outing for CPU is a good point of comparison, and the electronics here bang and whirr in a manner which nods to the post-IDM innovations of artists like μ-Ziq. One can also see Tourbillon as descended from acts like Cabaret Voltaire, the industrial electronics innovators from CPU's home city of Sheffield. However, Tourbillon is ultimately an EP which exists in its own lane, an open-minded and open-hearted set which runs with the futurist spirit of CPU and Koch's previous home of Merck Records.
Australian producer Tim Koch returns to Sheffield's Central Processing Unit with Tourbillon, an EP of otherworldly post-IDM productions.
RIYL: μ-Ziq, Calum Gunn, Proswell, Modeselektor