Every time Rephlex announces (or simply releases without warning) a new signing who has no other releases out on any label, I flip a coin. If it’s heads, I decide it must be another Aphex Twin project trying to catch his followers off-guard. If it's tails, I decide to believe: it must be someone who sent in their first demo and Richard D. James and Grant Wilson-Claridge liked it. But whichever side of the coin turns up, one thing doesn't change: the records are always great; they're terror attacks on your brain with outrageous IDM in the best Rephlex braindance tradition. This first 12” by Steinvord is no exception.
The coin might land on its edge, too. In that case, I decide it's neither Aphex Twin nor a rookie, but a new sidestep by Squarepusher, also playing hide and seek. These five tracks, in fact, sound a lot like the Tom Jenkinson who has already released his harder stuff on Rephlex using the moniker of Chaos A.D., and now that Warp has announced his return to straight-up electronic music without the jazz digressions, back on the path that he strayed from in the good old days of “Hard Normal Daddy” (1997), one could think of “Steinvord” as a dress rehearsal. The clues are there: “Iyff Acid E1” has a title (and a sound) that could be from the “Analord” series, which would raise the stakes in favour of Aphex. “Cyg X-1”, on the other hand, is a complex and dirty drill'n'bass exercise with an overdose of icy synths, reminiscent of the old “Hangable Auto Bulb” or the most out of control moments of “Drukqs” (“Ontrackv2”, particularly). But it sounds more like Squarepusher on “Maelstrom”, a piece in the line of “Come On My Selector”, only without the classic electronic bass and with the occasional nod to 1994 ragga-jungle. It seems obvious this material must come from a veteran, someone who was around during the old school (which could mean Luke Vibert had something to do with this, too: maybe Steinvord is a continuation of Vibert's Amen Andrews alias), but at this point I will refrain from further speculating and focus on what's really important: whoever made this and for whatever reason, “Steinvord” features five pieces of pure delight for the most avid IDM fans. If you are one, you know what to spend your next six pounds on.