Fresh from Chicago comes Aphorism’s “Surge”, a conventional electronica album that somehow fell in with a bad crowd and came out reeking of industrial and IDM fallout.
While the above scenario may hold some interest for the fan base that would be interested in this album, there is actually very little to recommend “Surge” to serious fans. Not much is new, original or groundbreaking. The thoughts that may be provoked listening to the album are the same ideas spawned in the mid-90s by artists like Download. The complex, subtly shifting rhythms that bring structure to the chaotic melancholy that pervades the record, while undeniably skillfully executed, resonate remarkably with the beats laid down by Squarepusher or Autechre. Even the gloomy dissatisfaction that permeates the tone of “Surge” can be traced to any number of other artists – in this and similar genres.
This lack of originality does not, however, equate with lack of talent – the production quality on “Surge” makes Aphorism’s music sincere enough to be forgiven for the shortcomings listed above. In fact, despite its many similarities with other scene favourites (from Tonikom to Totakeke, who supplies a remix of “Negative Two” on this disc) all these comparisons can be drawn in a favourable light. After all, it is extremely difficult to create something entirely unique within the realm of electronic music when so many of its proponents make use of the same hardware, software and samples in their creative processes.
So, while it may not be the most exciting release within the darker side of technoid, Aphorism’s “Surge” is nevertheless worth listening to, especially if any of the acts mentioned above awaken any positive response in you.
— David vander Merwe