CD-R, Fich-Art, 2008
“Basic Topology” is the debut album from Grecian industrial-experimentalist John Raptis, released by the legendary Fich-Art label. His project, Xsoz, first appeared on Spectraliquid’s “Konkrete” compilation late last year with a somewhat promising track, “Please Wait,” which threw down some appealing rapid-fire beats over waves of dark ambience and heavy industrial influences. This is all well and good until you’re talking about an entire album of essentially the same song arranged in various ways in a failed attempt to present the illusion of diversity and cohesiveness. Unfortunately “Basic Topology” falls into this bottomless pit of monotony. There has been an effort to hit the nail on the head with each of these twelve moody, beat-driven tracks, but the hammer continuously misses its mark each time.
On the surface, the songs of “Basic Topology” sound very cool, as if they should be more engaging to these ears. It’s all here: delicate yet menacing dark ambience, hard and gritty industrial beats, stabbing moments of rolling clamor, all cinched up nicely in the beautiful packaging artwork of Kostas K. (Subheim, Spectraliquid). The only thing “Basic Topology” is missing is substance. I find myself asking the same questions each time I listen to this album: “What is the purpose of these songs and is there some hidden significance that I’m missing here?” After several forced listens, I think I’ve come to the conclusion that “Basic Topology” simply is what it is – nothing more and nothing less.
There is no wise and thoughtful purpose to this album. The listener is merely subjected to a collection of unmemorable tracks that, while containing some alluring beatwork, lacks the solid foundation it needs to maintain a perpetual shelf life. With a little more essence added to the core of the Xsoz sound, Raptis may have something that will etch itself into the minds of his potential listeners; regrettably “Basic Topology” just isn’t that album.
— Paul Nielsen