Paris’ Black Polygons (Cyril Rampal) follows his succinct 2011 self-titled EP (3 tracks, 6 minutes) with a longer self-titled album (13 tracks, 25 minutes). These are exactly the sort of tracks one yearns for when making mix tapes: high quality, high energy percussive offerings to fill a small gap at the end of a cassette.
Much of today’s dance music goes on too long for the home listener. On the club floor, time has a tendency to distort. Long repetitions with tiny changes can seem profound. But what if these tracks were boiled down to their essences? Would many artists be bold enough to admit that their 8-minute tracks contained 2 minutes of fresh ideas? Black Polygons doesn’t bother with overextension; it’s get in, get on with it, get the job done. Sure, the songs could be a little bit longer, but what would be the point? There’s always the repeat button.
While steady programmed drums lie at the heart of each track, the appeal is in what surrounds them: light fuzz, hints of drone, an uncommon thickness. There’s no telling which came first, the rhythm or the texture, but the two work quite well together. Take the beat out of “Spots”, and one discovers a computerized experiment bordering on the dissonant. Steal the popcorn percussion from “Catwalk”, and a drone appears. Shoegaze sways in the background of “Dark Grey”, while the drum-free closer “Fadeout” pours all of the aforementioned elements into a single vat.
While listening, one begins to imagine an even shorter album, one of deconstructions and remixes in which the track lengths are measured in seconds instead of minutes and no pattern is ever repeated. Taken to its logical extension, one might eventually encounter an album comprised of single-second tracks, or one in which every track clung desperately to its own 0 or 1. Black Polygons helps us to consider the weight and length of music, and to question the very nature of a song. (Richard Allen)