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BNJMN – Plastic World

Rush Hour’s Direct Current series has already struck gold on several occasions – most notably the back scratching endeavours of FaltyDL and Cosmin TRG – however a shift upwards in ambition and a swerve in focus towards these shores has delivered a truly startling full length album from BNJMN. The latest alias of Ben Thomas, a young UK producer whose work has featured under a variety of names for labels such as Svetlana Industries and Tirk, Plastic World could feasibly be conceived as Thomas finding his true musical identity.

From the opening shards of melancholia that characterise the swirling euphoric futurism of “Blocks”, your senses are flushed with a certain urge to connect physically and mentally. It’s possible to draw comparisons with Emerald Fantasy Tracks, Lone’s impressive not quite an album, as both draw influences from the same fertile period of UK experimentalism within electronica and techno whilst sounding totally contemporary. However, whereas Lone’s release felt like there was something lacking at times – perhaps the thematic continuity of an album that Cutler himself admitted was missing – Plastic World captivates throughout.

This is an album that’s covered in a glistening sheen of utopian futurism; from the grinding amphibian machine funk of “Wheels In Motion” to the more upwardly mobile jacking acid melodies of “Tunnel Flight”, BNJMN seems to posses an innate and auspicious talent for creating music that’s just as suited for the floor as your headphones.

What also impresses is a willingness to switch between tempos and sensations, seek out “Fire In The Hole” for epic, multi layered beatdown pressure which accrues a rusted purple vibe as it rattles along. Alongside this there is “Traditions” which sounds like three different ideas laid on top of each other, yet instead of being a horrible mess you are hit with the force of something thrilling, introspective and mystical which recalls Aphex Twin and Juan Atkins at their finest.

Whilst “Blocks” has been most commonly claimed as the track that will draw you in, it is perhaps “See Through The Stars” that leaves the most lasting impression, throwing together frosted soundscapes with throbbing bass and tingling percussion and washing them with rich sounding shafts of upwards electronic melody with jaw dropping results.

Tony Poland