SCNTST was still a teenager when his first work for BNR was released. This is not to say it reflected a teenager’s skill set- paradoxically, the singular focus, the obsessive excitement that can come from being young and discovering new modes of expression fosters an incredibly rapid learning curve where the right mind can accomplish great things in little time. SCNTST proved himself to be a disciplined and serious producer from the start with a shockingly prolific output all maintaining exceptional quality. The name SCNTST might allude to this discipline, but also is apt for his experimentation. SCNTST has a “sound,” perhaps even a “mood,” but where his name diverges from his music is in “formula.” Broken beats, hissy excursions in house and techno, even a vast, cosmic hip hop opus in “Wavez Change” (which racked up 1.1 million Spotify plays), give a hint to what one will find in his third full length release for BNR, “Scenes and Sketches From the Lab.”
“Scenes and Sketches From the Lab” could easily be a film score, or a late ’90s compilation from an obscure Japanese (or German, for that matter) record label recently rediscovered. The “sketches” here remind one of Aphex Twin in terms of sheer variety of sound, concept, and tempos, while never abandoning a commitment to mastery. “Something for everyone” would be the laziest possible description- we’d prefer to invert it and say there’s “everything for someone,” that someone having a discerning ear and appreciation for the production innovations and musicality revealed. “Scenes and Sketches from the Lab” is deeply complex. Diving into the LP is like opening a Matryoshka doll of electronic experimentation of unknown, perhaps infinite layers. Each listen allows for new discovery.
Despite what could seemingly be just a disjointed album with a positive description, there is a cohesion here that should not be overlooked and is especially meaningful in today’s techno landscape- that of emotion. Despite the sterile coldness one might imagine a “SCNTST” to have, the producer never shies away from a colourful expressiveness. The richness of affect here is significant- a characteristic that also acted as a unifying aspect of Aphex Twin’s work. While SCNTST’s production is demonstrably precise, it’s the melodic elements that define the album in the end and linger always after each listen. “Scenes and Sketches from the Lab” may be just that- scenes and sketches- but the stories they tell, and the feelings they leave you with, paint a vibrant and complete masterpiece.
1. Dilettante Fonk 2. Espera 3. Skip Squad 4. And Don’t Dis The Arp 5. 08141 PtII 6. The Ends From Castle Road 7. Sine 4 Friendz 8. Morf (Tomchord Mix) 9. Jomox Plus MFB 10. Outline Dub 11. Opus Quod Acidum 12. Morf 13. ’14 Tepéca
Vinyl / Digital
May 4, 2018
BNR167 / BNR167D