Dallas Electro Wunderkid Cygnus Announces Tesseracter
Photo courtesy Blake Ward
"When you play electronic music, you have control of the imagination of the people in the room, and it can get to an extent where it's almost physical." These words, spoken by Ralf Hütter of pioneering electronic outfit Kraftwerk, ring no truer than today. And although Dallas is far removed from the musical hotbed of '70s Germany, we too have a dream-weaver in our midst.
Born and raised in Dallas, electro producer Cygnus (birth name Phillip Washington) is one of only a handful of local electronic artists who've successfully broken through on the international scale. Having spent much of his childhood tinkering with his father's electronic music tools, including early digital audio workstation Cakewalk and a Roland JD-800 synthesizer, Washington discovered early on that he enjoyed making music. After attending his first techno set at Denton's Rubber Gloves (where techno DJ Rick Simpson performed), Washington was struck with a new sense of ambition. It was time to start taking this music thing more seriously.
It wasn't long before Washington's music found a home. Following two strong releases on experimental label Icasea, Cygnus jumped to the delightfully esoteric Sheffield-based label Central Processing Unit, which in 2012 released his excellent electro LP Newmark Phase. After two years of relative silence, Cygnus is back with news of a new full-length release for CPU: Tesseracter. If initial impressions can be trusted, Cygnus has returned as a more focused and sophisticated talent.
Tesseracter reveals a newfound zeal to Cygnus' approach. The new cuts are distinctly brisk compared to the artist's previous material and, whether it be in lieu of experience or a new source of inspiration, the music speaks of a more effortless and taut producer. Thankfully, Cygnus' appetite for retro-futuristic shadings and IDM playfulness has only increased, which, counter to expectation, blends well with Tesseracter's gripping linearity. Transitioning between the pristine and the organic, the pillowy and the globular, on Tesseracter Cygnus has unearthed an ideal common ground between his skill for cool, clean lines and his interest in the smoky textures of noir science fiction. In other words, Cygnus' chops have caught up to his immensely rich imagination.