Sycomore hints at techno as well as dubstep and drum & bass, and Berardi's background as a guitarist is well-referenced. String instruments are prominent on "Retama" and "Anunnaki," the 120-BPM productions on the A-side. With a spare but booming rhythmic framework, "Retama" lurches beneath mournful, meandering violin motifs. "Anunnaki" is more forceful, thanks to its interwoven drum work, while rapid-fire strings, drifting almost weightlessly, make for a more anxious mood. "Sycomore" is a frenzied, intensely atmospheric hybrid track, measuring close to 100 BPM (or maybe double that) and propelled by rushes of percussion. The dubstep-y digital cut "Dukkah" revels in a haze of jammed-out feedback and distortion.
Samuel Kerridge's rework of "Anunnaki" follows nicely in the wake of his recent album. As close as this record gets to 4/4 techno, but still stripped and scorched beyond recognition, it's a beast of a track. Dubby, mesmerizing drums, hair-raising crescendos of distortion, and Kerridge's own pitched-way-down voice are all in play here. It's a great way to round out another distinct Arboretum release.