“Upgrades” Review by Igloomag September 2018
“If you’ve not heard of Carbinax or 2ndMouse, now’s the time to tune in and get your fix—he’s amassed around 18 releases, numerous compilation appearances, and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. The 2ndMouse moniker, retired as of 2016, comes back to life in the form of UK-based Carbinax providing versions in all of its upgraded glory. Always one to shine with brisk, emotive, and rolling melodies that even Plaid would revel in, Upgrades: Versions 2.0 is a smorgasbord of luminous electronic music without borders.
Take the opening vocodered beauty of “Phantom Limb” and its 2018 mix—modular bits meld to low-profile bass, the 90s-era Orbital versus Moby feel is an absolute highlight that merits repeated listens. And this is perhaps where Carbinax is able to let loose—that original feeling brought forth from the forefathers of electronic music, breaks, IDM, ambient, and electronica are simply fused to Carbinax’s music. “All Will Become Clear (2018 Mix)” is another prime example of vivid, to the point danceable rhythms and a few lightly sprinkled acid notes to close it off. “Pleiades (2018 Mix)” could pass for a late 80s Depeche Mode instrumental artifact, while tracks like “Strange Limo 2” offers subtle vocal treatments paired with a slow-groove percussion which has become the Carbinax signature sound. With so many avenues to explore, there are 30 tracks on this album providing the listener with swaths of electronics to consume. Another highlight takes shape on “Major Flaw (2018 Mix)” as an organic ambient stream of subconsciousness is fragmented by an array of crunchy beatwork. The staccato drums on “Lapse,” its drifting vocal bits and melodic shuffling creates a comforting sound space. “Biotic (2018 Mix)” is another favorite, its rugged beatwork and Boards Of Canada inspired intonation is a nostalgic calling in and of itself—”there is no other way” about it.
There’s just so much to digest here. With over 2-hrs of music, one has to wonder where Carbinax finds the energy (and time) to craft such a blissful and organized collection. As a result, Upgrades: Versions 2.0 is an uplifting culmination of high-intensity electronic music from a myriad of styles that merges techno, downbeat, bass, glitch, electro, IDM, ambient, and synthesizer noodling into a cohesive trajectory. “