- From the outside, electro can seem like a self-contained genre, with its specific template and an army of purists who stick to it. But a few younger labels have been probing further, exploring everything in electro's extended universe. Chief among them is Sheffield's Central Processing Unit, which takes the legacy of the city seriously. The label ties together bleep techno, IDM and electro into a well-defined aesthetic. Its lively fifth-anniversary compilation, where core Central Processing Unit artists are tasked with reworking each other, isn't just a remix collection—it establishes Central Processing Unit as one of the scene's most inventive and forward-thinking forces.
Remixes has a number of pure electro tracks—Sync 24's remix of Annie Hall's "Curie" is top-notch, hard-driving stuff—but it also has plenty of surprises. The midsection is packed with oddball efforts that stretch Central Processing Unit's style to its limits. Missqulater turns in a headrush remix of CN loaded with video game synths and hyped-up breaks, while Plant43's turn on Blixaboy's "Detroit Steel" has a prog house bassline that infuses the label's cold electronics with emotional warmth. Blixaboy returns the favour, transforming Plant43's "Will I Dream" into a psychedelic trip. DJ VLR's version of Jensen Interceptor's "Model 2029" has shades of EBM. These are some of the oddest and most interesting tracks the label has put out.
Central Processing Unit has also explored IDM—the legacy of Warp Records—and that aspect of the label stands out most on Remixes. Noumen, a producer from Lviv, Ukraine, is one of the label's best discoveries in this realm. His nearly nine-minute remix of Warp veterans B12 is the compilation's crown jewel, a glitchy masterpiece of old-school electronica that sounds like machinery moving in slow-motion. B12 themselves do a a crack job on Mrs Jynx's "Diving Loop," serving up a piece of Artificial Intelligence-style IDM that stacks up with any of their classic works from the '90s.
If there's any artist who typifies Central Processing Unit's intoxicating blend of electro and IDM, it's Microlith, the Maltese producer who died earlier this year. He appears twice on the compilation, first being remixed by Tryphème—another artist who reps the label's artier wing—and then reworking Tryphème's "Mélodramatique." Microlith's remix is nearly giddy, with dizzy acid line and 808 fills giving it a vintage Warp spin with lots of personality. It's sad to hear such wonderful work from a producer taken from us much too soon, but "Mélodramatique" is also so much fun that it's hard not to crack a smile.
Microlith was a good example of the kind of young artist that Central Processing Unit nurtures. He operated on his own wavelength even in a defined continuum, pushing at the edges without reinventing the wheel. That's Central Processing Unit in a nutshell. Remixes busts electro wide open and reveals all its possibilities.
01. Sync 24 - Memory Bubble (Jensen Interceptor Remix)
02. Noumen - White Silence (Morphology Remix)
03. Microlith - Purple Chords (Tryphème Remix)
04. Blixaboy - Detroit Steel (Plant43 Remix)
05. Plant43 - Will I Dream (Blixaboy Remix)
06. Tryphème - Mélodramatique (Microlith Remix)
07. Annie Hall - Curie (Sync 24 Remix)
08. CN - Zener Diode Blues (Missqulater Remix)
09. Cygnus - Strange Hyper (Annie Hall Remix)
10. Jensen Interceptor - Model 2029 (DJ VLR Remix)
11. B12 - Step Inside (Noumen Remix)
12. Mrs Jynx - Diving Loop (B12 Remix)
13. Federico Leocata - Zunächst (Automatic Tasty Remix)