Ever since it launched back in 2012 the Central Processing Unit label has been updating classic electro and techno sounds for the modern age. This trend continues with the release of Biochip’s debut album Synthase, a record that is a spiritual successor to early 90’s full-lengths like Aphex Twin’s Selected Ambient Works 85-92 and Biosphere’s Patashnik. Working out of Montreal, the duo of Melissa Speirs and Julian Kochanowski have crafted eight detailed electronic tracks that can kick hard when they want to.
Synthase’s first half is particularly harmonious. With their woozy synth tones and busy-body 808s cuts like ‘M.O.’ and ‘Simulated Events’ join the dots between Boards Of Canada or The Orb and nu-school acts like D. Tiffany. ‘Frame Shift’ and ‘Doctor Effect’ are also pleasingly rich - the former could quite easily slot into the tracklist of Kraftwerk’s Radio-Activity.
Biochip sharpen their focus through Synthase’s second half as the rhythms get busier and the tempos ratchet up. ‘Tone Forest’ is a lovely entry that balances warm melodies with ultra-busy beats; closer ‘Dusty Dossier’ leans harder on the drums than other tunes to create a jacked techno delight; ‘Acid Billy’ slots in neatly alongside Brainwaltzera’s modern Braindance aesthetic - the track’s head-spinning beat-tracking is particularly impressive.
With Synthase, Biochip have come from nowhere to drop one of 2019’s most impressive debuts.