The plain, unmarked white shell and clinical titling of break_fold's debut certainly adds a mysterious quality to this project. There is no hint as to what to expect musically, and that alone always makes me curious. That ambiguity carries onto the tape itself, in the form of complex and diverse beat heavy electronics that excels as much in mood and texture as it does in pleasant melodies and memorable rhythms.
These six pieces—all simply titled for the date they were recorded (I assume)—are refreshingly varied and dynamic. Right in the opening moments of "24_08_15," there is a great snappy drum machine, tastefully filtered, to click away as beautiful synthesizers glide effortlessly over the top, immediately followed by the ghostly melody and stuttering, idiosyncratic beat of "07_07_15". In both of these cases, however, there ends up being much more. On the former, the electronics slowly become more dense and dissonant, and by the closing moments they engulf the remainder of the mix. In the latter case, the balance of raw and polish is upset in the ending, as the entire piece disintegrates brilliantly.
This dichotomy continues throughout the tape. While "11_09_15" begins with a dense, heavy beat that eventually transitions from darkness to light, the remainder of the piece does the opposite. The beat may become less oppressive, but the overall arrangement begins in a far more chill zone than the intensity in which it closes. For "05_01_16" break_fold leads off with gentle, fluttering electronics and an overall slower pace, and despite the big, resonating handclaps the mood stays light. However, the beat is shifted around and the focus instead shifts to the big, dramatic synths that stand out strongly. The latter parts of the piece may drift into noisy territory, but the melody never fully disappears.
On the final third of the tape the differences are a bit more pronounced, however. On one hand, break_fold drifts more into conventional song structures on "21_02_16," compared to the more techno-oriented sounds that preceded it. There is a wonderfully dense synthesizer progression, but as a whole there seems to be more melody and varying structures to be find. On the other hand, "13_04_16" may be a direct continuation of the previous, but the tempo is slowed. Instead the beginning minutes are slower and in general the mix is more stripped down, cutting the electronics back somewhat. It picks up towards its end, but the inclusion of vocal fragments makes the piece more unique overall.
07_07_15-13_04_16 may not be the most experimental or challenging sounding tape, but the familiar ground that break_fold covers is done with such panache that it is an engaging tape completely as it is. The complex production ensures that the beats never become stale, and the wonderful melodies make for a tape that is rife with heavy beats, but without numbing repetition. The presentation may be intentionally obscure and a bit obtuse, but the content itself is excellent.