Review: Three Bulb Cyclist – Digging for Diameters (Rota Frangitur, Oct 2)

The digital-only Digging for Diameters collects seven pieces by the enigmatic artist Three Bulb Cyclist, released over the course of 2018 across four releases on Rota Frangitur Records. It is also my first encounter with their music, and after the first two tracks I wasn’t quite drawn in yet. But upon the opening synth spirals of “La Chicle En La Boca,” a 16 minute piece with a mind all its own, I was hooked. The free-form electronic synthesis (I don’t know enough about this stuff to identify modular vs. granular or whatever) tumbles and whirls over itself, phasing in and out from dissonant sonorities to gorgeous plasticky twinkles. It’s hard to imagine a human executing these manipulations; the progressions are so natural that it almost gives the sense that the sounds were programmed and then just let loose. “La Chicle En La Boca” and the ensuing compositions explore synthetic tones and beauty amidst stridency and tension, in the same vein as some of my favorite adventurous electronic records (I was frequently reminded of Animal Collective’s brilliant Danse Manatee and even the electronic stochastic music of Xenakis), but Three Bulb Cyclist employs a subtle lushness, a hint of profound color, even in the collection’s sparsest moments.