Boxcutter is an apt title for the songs constructed by one Barry Lynn, from Northern Ireland; the sounds on Oneric are sharp yet utilitarian, rusty and grungy yet dependable. These percussion-riddled dreamscapes (oneiric means "of or pertaining to dreams") reside on the edgier side of the land of IDM, or "intelligent dance music," one of the most egregious misnomers in music categorization ever. Can you dance to it? Sure -- its forms are derived from DJ and sample-based techno or dance music. But is it intelligent? Heady yes, but it's much more visceral than intellectual. As is the case with most IDM artists (Aphex Twin, Autechre, Boards of Canada, µ-Ziq, Plaid, Squarepusher, Wagon Christ/Plug, et al.) the rhythm patterns here are derived from dancefloor catalysts but systematically dismantled and reassembled in a way that pleases both mind and body, and may be more appropriate for headphones and the couch than a swanky underground club. Boxcutter manipulates his own electronic micro genre, too: whereas Squarepusher or Amon Tobin exploit drum'n'bass, Aphex Twin tweaks jungle, and Luke Vibert and his ilk implode acid techno, Boxcutter's starting points are the relatively obscure grime and dubstep. Regardless of any needless categorization, the overall sound here most closely resembles his Planet Mu labelmate µ-Ziq, all dark noirish ambience, splattery and disjointed beats, kinetic soundtracks to documentary films about spasmodic alien life forms. "Tauhid" buzzes and lurches its way through an Arabic film noir, until the action sequence takes off with a decidedly Amon Tobin-esque cymbal loop. "Grub" has a µ-Ziq-like flavor, its rhythm seemingly comprised of Brontosaurus stomps and bug zappers. "Skuff'd" exhorts you to "put the drum machine on," then proceeds to crank it to 11 as the boogie bassline and scattershot snares propel you down the intergalactic superhighway. And that's just the first three tracks. This album never lets up and is extremely enjoyable the whole way through, and as Boxcutter's debut it ranks among the finest releases of IDM, whatever that is.
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AllMusic Review by Brian Way