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Overrider - Cyc|er | Album Review


For an act that are the product of technology – both digital and analogue – some may find surprise in the fact that the anonymous duo Overrider keep a scarce online presence. No bios, no shameless self-promotion and certainly no social media pages can be found regarding the Manchester electronic newcomers. However, this becomes evidently understandable when experiencing their art. An act that calls the black light lit pits of cyberspace their home, Overrider are band that inhabit the space between digital intensity and reflective ambience, the curious chambers between unquantifiable human emotion and algorithmic data. It’s something they showcase in neon light with their debut record Cyc|er.

With the core of the project serving as the duo’s shared love for unicode, algorithms and composing art from coding experiments, Cyc|er is a record that revels under the seductive albeit cloaking light of subdued neon. Composed under a hacker orientated aesthetic that rivals upon a dignified Outrun style, Cyc|er remains dignified and reclusive as it remixes and amalgamates post-rock ambience, math-rock attitudes and electronic experimentation.

Related: Digital Code, Electronic Soundscapes and Human Emotion - An Interview With Overrider

Introducing the atmosphere of the record with the force of a strobe, ‘[Sky Ladder]’ immediately showcases Overrider's penchant for synthetic ambience prior to being overpowered by the glitching, guitar driven intensity of ‘Agititated_|’. Scalping post-rock noise seizes violently against a weightlessly infinite digital backdrop composed of the atmosphere breathed into creation by it’s prior introduction. The result is a violent dance of contrast that vividly showcases the very manner of Cyc|er. Where there’s dark dissonance there’s also meditate ambience and composure.

Essentially every track within Cyc|er is based upon a level of juxtaposition, regardless how subtle it may be. Some of it, as with the case of ‘The |eft Hand’, lead single ‘ansible’ and ‘quarter|ess’, the contrast lies with the music itself. These tracks enjoy both guitar driven intensity and quiet electronic ambience, ebbing and flowing between the two efficiently though genre dynamism whilst ensuring they’re as irresistibly engaging at all times.

There’s a level of technical danceability present within such tracks – one could draw comparisons between layered artists such as Massive Attack and 65daysofstatic easily, but such movement has been substituted for atmospheric reflection. Imagine the forefront specular of Massive Attack combined with the bowed reflection of the more ambient instrumental works of Nine Inch Nails and Curve - now you’ve got a pretty good idea of the heavily textured soundscapes present here.

On other parts of the record, the contrast lies with the general atmosphere. Despite it’s general digitalised aesthetic, Cyc|er is very much a record documenting depression, isolation and the discord of a troubled human mind. ‘P ssiblity_sw rd’ ‘Black_Hatch’ and ‘Anchored | P u n c h’ are by far the most electronic leaning tracks on the record, with such material being composed of warbled noise, distorted sub-bass and fractured midi polyrhythms. Yet, such exercises in electronica radiate emotion and frustrated melancholia. These movements, despite sounding like they’re arriving from distant lands accessed only by the infobahn, carry organic empathy in abundance.

Cyc|er is a record that effortlessly combines post-rock, math-rock and electronica whilst under a slick hacker guise without resurting to cliches. However, it’s more than the mere sum of such parts. It’s introspective look into the minds of two fully organic minds that chose to articulate their woes via the means of ambience and musical layers. Truthfully, when analysed, it’s not just thoroughly fascinating, but borderline ingenious. Overrider as a collective may be anonymous and hidden for now but their music should be experienced by all with even just a passing interest in contemporary instrumentalism.

Score: 8/10

Cyc|er is out now independently. Purchase the record here.

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