Hey, remember when the cool thing in IDM was to wrap funky beats around long vocal drops? Stuff you were pretty sure you should be paying attention to, either because it was informative or just cool? Did you love that? Then welcome back, because that’s what’s in store on Subatomic Particles from your friends at Cosmic Mind Warp. “A hallucinogenic head-trip through the strange microscopic world of quantum physics,” they tell us. On that side of the scale, they deliver. I will say up front that the album tends to be a little drop-heavy for me, but the grooves are pretty deep and often trippy, and they’re balanced off with more ambient-inclined pieces. Problem is, I find that I’m only ever minimally engaged in Subatomic Particles. The pieces are short, so the sense keeps shifting—which is fine—but none of the 15 tracks here ever really demands my attention, and the abundance of drops puts me off a bit. There are points where I quite dig into the feel of something, like the soft flows at the end of “Weak Nuclear Particles” once we’re quite done with a sleepy-voiced woman slogging through an explanation of how a boson works, or the overlapping electronic waves of “Cosmic Microwave Background,” one of the only tracks to really grab me. Structurally, that track is fairly simple, but the way its continuously layered builds into a wispy wall of pads with its own fluid dynamics.
Subatomic Particles has worked best for me as kind of a distracted listen. There’s some excellent production in here, and the CMW duo know how to play with your head, but it’s just kind of…there. I could have done with a bit less voice and a bit more energy and dimension. Still worth having a listen, if only in the background.
Available from the Cosmic Mind Warp Bandcamp page.