The gentlemen of Cyberchump know that your musical mood tends to fluctuate. That’s why their new release, Their Moment of Perfect Happiness, gives you two discs–one for those times when you need it uptempo and loud and another for your darker, more contemplative moments. The first disc, the upbeat one, is also for those of you who, like me, are suckers for a sexy, thick and chunky dose of window-rattling bass. With heavy dub influence entwined with ripping prog-rock guitar, this disc wastes no time in getting its funk on. “Every1” wah-wahs its way into your face and gets you moving while guitarist Jim Skeel unleashes a stinging swarm of notes. From there, he and Mark G.E. refuse to relinquish their hold. “Learning to Breathe,” which is so pleasantly trippy it should be called “Learning to Inhale,” offers harmonics pinging over a reggae bass line amid a butterfly stampede of electronics. And really, how can you miss with a track called “Interstellar Dub Station Freakout”? This one solidifies the duo’s dub cred, complete with scratchy guitar, a beat you can’t refuse and perfectly executed drops where the sudden silence just echoes through your head. The lads pull a nice tonal switch with “In Tension,” curving the flow into a Middle Eastern groove. Familiar territory for them, it must be said, and they hit it neatly here.
The second disc is interesting for its linear movement from beat-based pieces that carry the energy of the first disc, down into misty ambient flows. Along the way the route passes through some intense, if not sinister-sounding, places. There’s a lot of minimalist construction here; simple phrasings and unchanging beats drive pieces like “Darling Don’t” (which, I have to tell you, can be a little creepy at times while also being a steady groove) and “Dread.” But in the almost unmoving constancy of these tracks, G.E. and Skeel manage to infuse a lot of activity and plenty of ear candy. These pared-back riffs manage to be no less infectious than the straightforward pieces on the first disc, which speaks volumes for the power of restraint. The last 20 minutes, beginning with “Floating” and on through the superb quiet wash of “In the Time of Gone,” find Cyberchump smoothing things out, calming the beats a little further and just letting the glide take over. Muted guitar notes hum their way through “Floating”; “Wind in Sleep” has a lullaby quality to it and a sense of easy patience. It’s spacious and in no hurry. Wind chimes ring quietly, pushed by a synthesizer breeze. “In the Time of Gone” is a classic ambient piece, all drones and pads edging toward the close of the disc. A truly beautiful piece, thoughtful and calm.
Cyberchump manage to do what they set out to with this disc. The one proudly stamped “Loud” excels when played loud. It’s been the soundtrack of many a morning commute since I received it. It’s feel-good dub that just seeps into your soul. Disc two takes up residence in your darker psychic spaces, churns up some stuff and talks to you about it, then hushes the conversation to let you think and leaves you alone with your thoughts. An excellent release from Cyberchump; probably my favorite of theirs so far.
Available at the Cyberchump web site.