Fragile X : The Butterfly Effect

Fragile X’s The Butterfly Effect is a stunning, visceral electronic album that hits you in all the right ways. Hard electro, IDM, and all the sci fi buzzing headiness you can handle in the course of six exquisitely produced tracks. Glasgow-based record label Bricolage’s latest release is a stunning overwhelming of the senses.

According to Bricolage’s Bandcamp page:

Loosely based around the ‘chaos theory’ branch of mathematics, it sees the label boss return home to Bricolage with his characteristic sound design and anomalous approach to percussion lighting the way on a six track release full of splintered beats and complex layers. Where a network of dynamic melodic elements systematically shift around among a dense array of deep basslines and a backdrop of sci-fi tinged atmospherics.

I’d say that’s an accurate description of Fragile X’s The Butterfly Effect. There seems to be a constant fluttering of static beats and manic synth structures that emulate the spirit of chaos. “Initial Conditions(0.506)” starts out not with an explosion of noise, but with a well-maintained rhythm and an almost melancholy mood. Swaths of synthesizer wash over the rhythmic cadence that starts us out. The album closes on a like-minded note with “Phase System(0.506127)”. More like an industrial dirge, it has hidden under the static and buzzing a distinct melody that works its way into your subconscious.

In-between these two is both beauty and madness.

There’s an element of dread here that lies just below the surface that takes us into “Chaos Theory”. A manic drum beat, not unlike NIN’s “The Perfect Drug” wavers in the air as a dystopian ring hangs in the air. “Strange Attractor” feels like hitting hyper drive in deep space. It’s like Vangelis’ “Blade Runner Theme” at 170bpm. Total deep space madness.

There’s a very retro feel with The Butterfly Effect. Mid-to-late 90s acid, jungle, and house music are all percolating with Fragile X’s newest. But underneath it all there’s a desolation and vast, open space where darker ideas rise. A small rhythmic change here, a wavering synth note there, and tempo fluctuations turn the mood of a track in an instant. There’s an organic quality to the clicks and ticks on something like “Fractal Dust” that makes the music feel tactile. Like you can run it through your fingers, as if pulling sand from an abandoned shoreline. It puts me in mind of Huerco S’ Colonial Patterns in that regard. Not as low key, but it’s electronic music you can practically touch.

Over six tracks and 35 minutes, The Butterfly Effect waxes and wanes in buzzing, electrical forms throughout. Fragile X has created a mini-epic which its scope runs from terra firma to deep space madness. Chaotic, blistering electronics tell a tale that work to move you and to make you ponder it all.

7.8 out of 10

The Butterfly Effect is available now via Bricolage. Grab it digitally or on limited edition cassette here.

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