PSYROK IS WELLINGTON musician/producer Si White, who put this five-track EP together via the internet in collaboration with Swedish vocalist Jenny Larsson (Li’l Sister Jen).
It’s roughly in the same territory as Portishead: slow, melancholy trip-hop with a spacious, aqueous ambience.
Problem #1: Most of these songs go on for way too long, and would have benefited by being pruned back to around half their length. They simply don’t justify their six or seven-minute length, given the lack of dramatic development, or anything else; just the same loops, instrumental motifs and chorus/vocals repeated over again. Problem #2: Neither Larsson’s singing or lyrics are distinctive enough to really make a mark, and tend towards a high-pitched winsomeness that is vaguely irritating. Problem #3: The audio is clearly unmastered, and should have had an audio engineer’s careful tweaking before unleashed on the world. While the quality of the production is mostly smooth and clear, it’s lacking in texture, impact and the bass quality and depth varies from track to track. For instance, ‘Perpetual Snow’ is a dub-oriented track with the most hopeless, boxy bass transients imaginable, while ‘A World Unknown’ has a bass sound that overwhelms an otherwise subtle musical picture.
Si White is clearly a talented musician/producer and Calculus shows he’s capable of some deft musical/compositional touches, but too often this release betrays its bedroom-recorded origins. Call me old-school, but this style of music aims for a certain sonic slickness, and while partially successful, this EP sounds like it was never played back on anything like professional sound monitors, or EQ’d to suit the home listening environment. It’s an excellent project to add to his CV, and some followers of local electronic music might find it gratifying, but it’s more calling card than great music. GARY STEEL
Sound = 2.5/5
Music = 2.5/5
Note: This EP can be downloaded free of charge from
or bought at iTunes.