Expressive synth melody experiments.
It's easy to imagine 111 Angelic MIDI Cascade having come together in a flash of inspiration. The playful, impulsive nature of the music suggests it took shape quickly. "Angelic" is an apt description of the LP's sound palette—a gorgeous spread of what sounds like FM tones regularly ring out with child-like glee, especially on "Neon-Joy Threads." These gleaming chimes are central to the record, and so brilliantly rendered you can almost feel the light bouncing off them. The "cascade" in the album's title hints at the method employed across the album: the lead notes fall in graceful arpeggios, offset by occasional sprites of harmony.
But it's far from happy-go-lucky music. "Scrying In The Rain" is an ambiguous tryst with off-key scales that would sound at home on an Autechre track circa LP5. It's considered and harmonically rounded, but also detached and alien, like an android trying to express emotion. Though they stop short of generative, mind-bending complexity, Cumbers' melodic lines are frequently stimulating and surprising. "Dear John" also hovers in this mystical zone, taking on prog levels of grandeur as it burrows further into its own nagging sequencing and baroque composition.
"(Press F5) Deep Home," an album highlight, is more emotionally forthright. It's made up of a swooning chord progression with fluttering arps that build towards a pastoral idyll. "Let's Meet On Astral Dancefloors" beams with positivity, marking some of the sunniest music Cumbers has ever released. But the album is just as appealing when it's more mysterious. On tracks like "It's Time For The Revelator" and "Worry And Also Somehow Be Happy," it's not obvious what mood is being conveyed. It's clear, though, that the synths are immensely satisfying to listen to. It's also clear that Cumbers has struck on a magical alchemy—an otherworldly and original sound that also allows for heartfelt expression.