Long Distance Runner-The Fire of Cumulative Hours 

Existential Sounds

Perhaps the best argument for the melding of man and machine since Steve Austin went bionic is "The Fire of Cumulative Hours" EP from Long Distance Runner. Essentially a one-man show starring Portland-based K. Briggs, "Cumulative" marks a masterful DIY debut of breakbeat electronica, both imaginative and playful, like the best of DJ Shadow.
 
"Los Nihongoristas" kicks off the disc, and serves as the litmus test: Either its repetitive crashing samples will drive you away or wax nostalgic for the Art of Noise. The remaining four tracks settle into a less experimental state of mind, with the title track delving into a smoky, mid-tempo groove. "After the Math" is a purposely odd-paced track of percussion and computer bleeps, recalling both Mogwai and Air.
 
But where "Fire" really takes spark is with "Mongolian Disco in Exile." Exotic and earthy, this five-minute slice of melodic manna is one the year's most infectious ass-shakers. LDR's full-length is planned for early '07; can't wait.
 
- Rod Lott

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