Naming all your songs so they begin with either C or K is something similar to what the Kardashian or Jenner clans do with their offspring. But there is nothing thrashy about the dense, warped electronic songs from Cork producer Joe Winfield, better known as CerebralFX. The ‘Claustrophobia EP’ is his follow up to the ‘Meeting Daryl Strawberry EP’ which was released a year ago.
If you’re new to CerebralFX, and looking for a reference point, then Crystal Castles and Fuck Buttons are a good place to start. There is certainly at least a spiritual connection between this ‘Claustrophobia EP’ and Fuck Buttons’ ‘Slow Focus’. It’s impossible to listen to the title track Claustrophobia and not make that connection. It begins with shimmering moods before a heavy wave of chugging synth is poured over it. There are subtle changes in the beats throughout that could easily form the score for a sci-fi movie.
What’s good to see is that his sonic template is subtly expanding. Altering textures to shift atmospherics is what CerebralFX does best. Kaoss has a nightmarish squall for an intro and lives up to its title. CharlieALPHAtango has a sampled dystopian rant of futuristic rebellion overlaying a gradually building groove that is filled with dread. If all this feels too much to take, the mood is altered by final track Kobenhavn which feels like awakening from bad dreams as it begins to finally let some rays of light in.
The EP isn’t completely perfect; Cubone doesn’t have enough going for it over its duration to maintain interest, while the alarming Carburator ends before it has really built up a head of steam. While the music might seem it’s like from an alien planet, there’s nothing too alienating for the listener and it rewards repeat listens. The ‘Claustrophobia EP’ is further evidence that CerebralFX is a producer to watch.