100% Dope – Cygnus / Central Processing Unit 2021 Review

Where to start! Oh man, so, let’s start with Central Processing Unit – for those of you that have been blissfully unaware are a Sheffield based purveyor of crisp quality Electro with a uniform cover for all releases so far, the only difference being the binary octet’s value. Those geeks among you would have beaten me to the next bit; this is CPU’s 100th Release, and what better way to mark the occasion by having a label stalwart, the Texan electro ledge Cygnus bookend the story so far.

Let’s imagine that the crisp drum machines and synths of Cybotron’s Clear (from 1983) have been patched with the latest firmware, had sentient funk filled upgrades installed, and gone on a road trip inside Sega’s Outrun as the sun comes down. In the driving seat is Philip Washington, aka Cygnus providing an ever-evolving tweaking and funk filled audio landscape for that 8-bit red Testarossa to cruise though. Have this in mind and play Throwing Shade on through some decent headphones and tell me I’m wrong!

Continuing the journey analogy, and working through the EP in a weird order, and head to Float Back to the Surface. Here the pads, the drum patterns, and vocoder vocals pull you slowly into the real world- although now it’s the late 80s and you are in a low slung Mk2 VW Scirocco driving along a empty motorway at night, the amber glow of the streetlights sweeping though the car as the crisp beats roll.

Then, Bad Rob Controller, we’ve pulled over on a side road and rocked into an arcade, the machines crackle and come to life, all adding to the Cygnus funk – and then, though a double door into a Matrix style white space. The digitized voice breaks the silence, then the machines crackle to life. Then, you’ll be thinking ‘CPU records made a hundred wax, so much electro made across the map, CPU records with a million songs, one robot singing on the intercom’.

With the label numbering scheme, like many I wonder what will happen after 255 releases (as a geek, I’m hoping they go Hex), but I’m stoked that they marked the occasion with such a strong release.

Give it a blast, Electro’s for life, not just for 100th releases!

Find digital on Bandcamp 100% Dope | Cygnus | Central Processing Unit (cpurecords.net)

Physical (Vinyl release, and engraved USB digital) – These sold out on pre-order, but you may have some luck on resellers (e.g. Bleep / Juno)

Review by Rik Mannix