Eliot's sterile sound design, technical approach and experimental tendencies have made him a niche favourite. But in the last year or so, with support from Dutch groups Black Sun Empire and Noisia, he's broken out and aligned with the more popular neurotech end of the drum & bass scene. Eliot signing to Critical Recordings was a move ringed with significance. It's naturally opened up more doors, bringing him further into an arena that welcomes his abrasiveness with open arms. For those who have kept up with the label's curation over the last few years, Biocellulose, Eliot's tenth album and first for Critical, isn't a huge change in direction.
Old school Current Value fans might have expected a compromise on Biocellulose, but that luckily isn't the case. The moody atmospherics and searing sound design of "Interstep" evoke a refined version of In A Far Future, while "Pneumatics" is more like a riled up 2012: The Day Of Silence, complete with steel pan hits, chopped beats and buzzing techno details. The souped-up title track is charged with sci-fi melody, a theme that makes its way onto just about every Current Value album. Then there's "Vigilant Minds," an explosive hybrid of classic and modern tech tropes.
The remixes from Enei and Anode and the collaborations with Phace and Mefjus make this more than just another CV album. They're like a bridge, linking the old guard to the new. Eliot has been pretty vocal about his respect for Mefjus, whose gritty style has toughened Critical's output since 2012. Both artists clearly have a similar aesthetic—"Senescence" proves it. The collaborative track claws and scratches with sharp talons, making for one of the roughest and rowdiest efforts here. As far as standout solo productions, "Footwork" takes the lead, if only for being so utterly brutal. It brings all of Eliot's past glories screaming into the present, encouraging his stalwart moshers to rave alongside the latest breed of hard-loving drum & bass heads.