January 27th, 2017 | Album reviews

Magnetic Syndromes
Alpha Pup

Magnetic Syndromes, the new full-length from Gypsy Mamba (Rancho Cucamonga-based producer Darius Giurar) is lousy with feels. Giurar, a first-generation Romanian American who describes himself as a “real gypsy,” says the recording process was largely a therapeutic act—a creative effort meant to synthesize his depression into sound and distract him from himself. The product is a journey, sometimes somber and cold but also quite melodic and full of twists and turns. Dull, monotone ambience underlies most of the tracks, but Giurar takes plenty of detours: “Like Chill” introduces proggy synths and sinister El-P-inspired passages and “Choker,” like several other tracks here, teases a big dance floor beat drop and then swerves into something glitchier like an uneven heartbeat. Magnetic Syndromes is not for the agoraphobic; if there’s any common theme here, it’s the profundity of empty space, whether that’s the emptiness of a club after the staff has closed up and gone home (“Stale Crumbs”) or the distorted, psychedelic nothingness of outer space (“Lingering Feenux”). Giurar, a regular Low End Theory attendee-turned-frequent LET feature, may have plenty of beat scene credentials, but Magnetic Syndromes ain’t a beat tape: it’s a brave, unorthodox suite of music, one with as much hip-hop in its blood as there is prog, movie scores, and ‘80s New Age. It’s a record that distorts Giurar’s pain into all sorts of shapes, while giving it plenty of space in which to echo.

—Chris Kissel