The mysterious entity known as Faex Optim is a relative newcomer on the scene, his representation made visible by net-only releases courtesy of the U.K.'s Kahvi Collective and via the artist's requisite Soundcloud page. As usual, the braintrust here at Carpe Sonum are rescuing the good Faex Optim from his relative 'obscurity' and given him their aural blessing, as it were, in hard-media (neé CD) format with this quite beguiling debut.
Tris·kai·dek·a·pho·bi·a breaks a bit somewhat from the established label 'house' style, although truth be told, Carpe Sonum embraces eclectic sounds and myriad approaches to electronic music across the breadth of its catalog. But Faex Optim does exalt in being something of the anomaly regardless. Throughout the album, clever track titles illustrate a charmingly deceptive streak full of winsome IDM traceries that sport wide, cheshire-grinned palettes—classic ambient workouts this sure as heck isn't. Faex Optim is apparently happy to let his gregarious ideas announce their intent within rather economical timeframes; these fifteen tracks don't outstay their welcome, which makes for concentrated listening and more gratifying rewards. "Hollywood Dream Bubble", for instance, recalls the sprightly historical footprints of Plaid, As One, Ochre, and any number of early provocative electronica storytellers. Across the five minute spread of the ironically-titled "Post Rock", Faex Optim lets a faintly motorik beat anchor a nest of placid angles, widescreen whoosh, and timeless flutter, as the last breath of early aughts electronic 'rock' music is extinguished in a five minute grand gesture.
Elsewhere, Triskaidekaphobia exalts in revealing how rich indeed the last 40+ years of circuit-cracked musique has had such a profound effect on contemporary beatmakers, an effect filled with overwhelming affect. "I Look Like I'm from Space" manages to embrace its inner Cluster just as the piece kicks in its Warp drive—looking both backward and forward, the whole history of jaunty electronica is revealed in all its glory, writ meaty, beaty, big, and bouncy. Kudos to Faex Optim for making the old new again.