The listening end of electronic music has taken a beating recently from both uninspired Kruder & Dorfmeister-inspired clones and tone-deaf IDM geeks. But just when it seems like everything has been done and done better, an artist pops up with an album that reminds you why you liked the stuff in the first place. And Darrin Wiener (a.k.a. Plastiq Phantom) has created just that with this subtly crafted debut. Obvious sonic references to IDM icons Aphex Twin and u-Ziq appear, but Wiener also has a taste and flair for quasi-classical flourishes a la Moby, as well as occasional bows to Ryuichi Sakamoto-styled minimalism. Coupling this with an active imagination and inspiring melodic sense, Plastiq Phantom leads the listener on a peaceful yet surprising and rewarding journey. He even ends it on a light note with the Tim "Love" Lee-inspired dance-track parody, "Cultivated Oscillations," and a promise for even greater successes in the future.
- Justin Hampton