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Andy Loebs
Hyperlink Anamorphosis Skye Butchard , April 4th, 2023 08:00

With its shiny surfaces and restless genre-mashing, Hyperlink Anamorphosis sounds exceedingly 2023, finds Skye Butchard

When Max Tundra gives his take on the current sound of electronic music, you should probably listen. The oddball musician is a godfather of many converging musical trends from the past fifteen years, under what you could broadly categorise as internet music. According to him, 2023's sound palette is “pristine, delicious, fresh, dry, crunchy, shiny, glossy, glacial, crisp, oxygenated, jellified, puckish, citric, startling, reflective, sparse, mellifluous”. Though he was specifically talking about the excellent new records from Kate NV and Holly Waxwing, he could have easily been praising Hyperlink Anamorphosis, a new album by Andy Loebs.

That’s in part because the record sounds like everything and nothing at once. Releasing for cult label Orange Milk Records, the Philadelphia-based producer gleefully smashes contrasting styles together to make something distinct and alien in the process.Hyperlink Anamorphosis is dry, shiny and glossy, but it’s also dense with sound and feeling.

The album was formed through live performance, using silly stock presets from a Korg Electribe 2, and a dizzying approach to sample manipulation. It’s a restless beast, swallowing up familiar sounds for a fleeting moment before hastily jumping to the next idea.

Future technology, digital collage and the offshoots from James Ferraro’s utopian virtual are clear aesthetic touchpoints, but the album is just as interested in a DIY punk ethos and the physicality of decaying machinery. If Chat GPT is a complex word association predictor, Hyperlink Anamorphosis is what happens when AI jumps as far outside the box as possible in an attempt to escape the machine.

Take the track ‘Hypertext Responder’. It zips from Saturday morning cartoons, to 90s video game rave with a jungle breakbeat, before melting into cool house pads, via about four classic presets all detached from their original context. ‘$5-10 Dollar Suggested Donation (notaflof)’ is just as surprising with its shifts into gabber, idm and midi ska. Loebs is working with crude and obvious noises, but they’re assembled with real care.

Just when you think the album lives firmly in the digital world comes ‘Chordophone & Cor Anglais’, a noisy bit of soundplay that could have been assembled in a basement by a cryptid. Loebs later pushes the noise to breaking point on ‘Science Overlook’, a screeching and destabilising piece that uses high frequencies like a set of power tools.

For every dissonant moment, there’s a sweet and catchy one, like the innocent and breezy ‘Myxomycetes’ or the quirky dance party closer, ‘I Am Smiling At My Friend’. The record is full of these charming little moments that help elevate it above just part of 2023’s wider sound palette. Underneath the digital sheen are heartfelt personal reflections.