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Barry LynnBalancing Lakes
Balancing Lakes is the third album from Barry Lynn, better known for working under his Boxcutter moniker. Lynn has gained recent critical praise for his dubstep-meets-IDM output for various labels including Mu, but this one is a trip into Lynn’s archives, a move which seems rather questionable as the material does often fall foul of wearing it’s influences perhaps a little too proudly on it’s sleeve.
The first couple of tracks are inoffensive melodic mid-tempo numbers — nice enough but they don’t exactly leap out. From there he moves through several sub-Squarepusher imitations — I’m not sure if anyone remembers the heyday of drill 'n' bass, or even if there was one, but this is straight out of that era. The production, admittedly, is good, and he does have an ear for a melody (Early Reflection being a case in point), but it does all come across as a bit “My First Braindance Effort” (J-Set Jogwheel could almost be Tom Jenkinson if it weren’t for the awkwardly placed horn stabs). I’m not sure why Paradinas felt so compelled to unearth this material — if it was so good the first time round, why wasn’t it released at the time? The last two tracks prove there are some gems hidden away though; the ambient wash of Fieldtrip (Original) and the remarkably natural sounding November Dub, make this more than just a case of “here’s some he made earlier”.
With a legion of computer music wannabes all too eager to bite the styles of their heroes, and the genuinely original sound Lynn seems to have tailored on his more recent material, the purpose of this album is a mystery. Here’s hoping the label moves back to a ‘quality over quantity’ maxim before it waters down it’s own position in a crowded market.