Apollo • 2015

It’s not a coincidence that Synkro’s debut has slipped into the crates three days before the beginning of autumn and that it’s called »Changes« of all names. While the first few leaves are falling from the trees, Joe McBride’s souly burial-substitute-sound can unfold with all its gaudy dark beauty. Through his residual-dubstep-drum’n’bass-amalgams, the producer from Manchester has combined weightless surfaces with momentous hints for almost a decade now, balancing between alienation and homeliness. It’s the same on »Changes« with its mightily spreading beats, on top of which McBride is either crooning associative sentence fragments like »world can wait« or hunting soul-vocals or sending out rich crackles of vinyl. The hell of references has become an undercooled place of longing, and even after more than 40 releases, Synkro remains to be the most introverted stage hog of British bass-music. However, it’s more than obvious that this full charge of melancholy is getting close to overdosing when presented in the length of an album. Between all the dense and rustling ambient-billowings, »Changes« needs a snappy break beat with a sugary hook (like on »Body Close«) in order to not sink into the black slop. What »Changes« definitely doesn’t need, on the other hand, are imitative tracks like »Let Me Go« (early Burial-phase) or »Midnight Sun« (late Boards-Of-Canada-phase) – tracks that seem to scream that McBride’s sounds are able to float majestically, but not in empty space. »Changes« doesn’t leave much to chance and thereby gets lost in randomness. The paper-thin concept is being covered by effects. Maybe McBride needed this record, considering that he has been mostly perceived as one part of the mysterious dark-techno duo Akkord for the last couple of years; maybe this record will softly cover the beginning of autumn like a yellowed leave covers wet streets. And still, Synkro has shone with real urgency too often in order for »Changes‘« broad fuzziness to be becoming.