The reason that Silicon Scally and CPU keep linking up is simple; they're a perfect fit for one another. Central Processing Unit has established itself as a haven for post-Drexciya producers since launching in 2012, and there are few artists better than Finlow at building on the Detroit group's sound. The union bears fruit once more on Soft Robotics, an EP of lithe machine-funk jams that will both do damage in the dance and also reward more concentrated home listening.
Things begin at a steadier speed than one might expect. Rather than barrelling off with the kind of sinewy roller one associates with the CPU name, Soft Robotics' title-track takes things at mid-pace. The groove reveals itself without hurry, Silicon Scally adding or subtracting elements - twitchy modular loops, pensive pads, the occasional blurt of low-end - atop the chugging bass/drums groove. It's a track which wins you over with guile rather than force.
As the name of subsequent cut 'Jitters' intimates, this one picks things up a little after 'Soft Robotics'. The tempo is higher here, the central beat more nervy. At their cores, though, 'Jitters' and 'Soft Robotics' are kindred spirits. Here, another slyly insistent bit of drum programming comes swirled up with all sorts of extraterrestrial tones, from little nuggets of melody supplied by the keys to electrifying synth stabs and percussive squelches.
Things limber up further still on first B-side 'Spin Ratio'. The track's 808 kicks are punchier than those of the A-side jams, and there's a dizziness to the bass tone which gives 'Spin Ratio' an intriguingly off-kilter feel. Atop the booming beat we find ourselves hypnotised by cells of melody and harmony interlocking or moving apart - particularly the staccato module at the track's heart. Sure enough, 'Spin Ratio' is the Soft Robotics joint which cleaves closest to Drexciya, invoking other Detroit disciples like Jensen Interceptor in the process.
After Soft Robotics picks up speed in the middle, closer 'Super Fluid Tones' brings us back to where we started. This track returns to the more measured delivery of the record's opener - there's a steady pulse to the drums, and once again Silicon Scally packs the mix with so many intriguing whizzes, bangs, blips and blurts that it's impossible not be won over by this tune's construction. 'Soft Robotics' and 'Super Fluid Tones' bookend Soft Robotics very nicely, and Silicon Scally's smart pacing gives the EP a lovely ebb and flow.
The ever-excellent Carl Finlow drops a Silicon Scally release via Central Processing Unit for the fifth year running. Like its predecessors, Soft Robotics is an excellent and deftly-crafted collection of modern machine-funk.