An album from the publicity-shy Maurice Fulton—particularly one under his Syclops moniker—was always going to be something of an event. That said, the American ex-pat seems keen to convince us that A Blink of a Eye is simply business as usual. From the pastel rendering of voluptuous one-eyed women on the cover to the track titles' cryptic use of possessives ("Karo's B"), Fulton has taken pains to present this album as a close successor to 2008's I've Got My Eye On You—which is certainly no bad thing. The stylistic hallmarks remain largely unchanged: a mixture of steely house bombs and more exploratory fare, executed with the inimitable flair that has earned Fulton cult status over the years.
As before, the dance floor numbers will likely be the main draw, with the storming opener "Unmatched" setting the tone. Fulton teases an implacable sense of forward motion out of comparatively simple ingredients: crisp, serrated synths, a 909 drum palette seasoned with carnival-esque percussion, and liberal sprinklings of computerised bleeps and squelches. Bumping up against vintage disco and funk in Fulton's DJ sets is where these productions really shine. But they're almost as appealing in isolation, where the ease with which Fulton avoids rhythmic cliche, and the various ways in which he gleefully derails his full-fat grooves—a shrill piano breakdown here, an audacious drum pile-up there—come to the fore.
The non-dance floor outings are far knottier affairs. At their best they're ambitious jazz fusion workouts, complete with odd time signatures and bewilderingly abrupt key changes. Many will, however, find the brash synth tones a little hard to stomach, the drums a little flat compared to their electronic counterparts, the structures frustratingly aimless at points. Assuming Fulton is behind all of the playing, too often these can feel like something of a vanity project, in need of professional polish and a stern edit or two.
Not to worry though: A Blink of a Eye is thoroughly redeemed by the visceral one-two gut punch of "Sarah's E With Extra P" and "Michele's H With C," both of which rank among Fulton's finest dance tracks. The former has been coveted by Fulton-watchers for some years, and you can see why: not only does it see the producer at the height of his rhythmic powers, but the ragged latin piano interlude is brilliantly audacious. "Micheles...," meanwhile, pulls the same trick with a gospel breakdown and a subtly dextrous bassline, to similarly incendiary effect. The album feels less expansive than its predecessor, covering fewer stylistic bases and with less consistency. Fortunately, Fulton is a cut above the rest even when he's not on top form.