Mirror Box is the solo analog synth project of Dallas musician Sean Kirkpatrick. With an extensive resume that includes keyboard duties for Kill Rock Stars’ 00s noise rock band The Paper Chase as well as his concurrent projects, dark post-punk-synth-rockers Nervous Curtains and darkwave duo Little Beards, Mirror Box is Kirkpatrick’s first foray into the purely electronic realm. Blending together elements of Giallo moodiness, dub texture, techno propulsion, a passing nod to your favorite wave music, and a flare for the kosmiche, Mirror Box’ debut release, Minimal Compliance EP, is a tour de force of the veteran musician’s exploration of a wide range of influences and experience.
Released by Dallas-based Gavin Guthrie (TX Connect)’s TRU (Texas Recordings Underground), the 5-track EP kicks off with the immediately-gripping title track. A huge mid-tempo 808 beat drives the menacing Moog bass while cosmic synths explore the skies over gritty, urban terrain. “The Body,” grounded by its stuttering and singular bass line, is an expansive reworking of a track from Little Beards’ debut album which features Nan Kirkpatrick on the release’s only vocal appearance. Side A closes with “Destabilized Agent,” a retro-futurist dream that effortlessly voyages from Sagan’s Cosmos to a melodic minimal wave refrain.
While the first side’s lush synthesizers and sophisticated syncopation are somewhat of a departure for TRU, a label that has so far defined itself by bringing the electronic sounds of Texas’ underground warehouse scene to dance floors across the sea, the flip side of the record is where the four hits the floor. “Grifter React” opens with a hard kick and electro zaps, letting the rhythm take the lead until a distorted bass finally enters to provide the hook. Minimal Compliance EP finale, “Critical Blitz,” weaves together all of Mirror Box’ finer elements into a concise mission statement. Pulsing, hypnotic mono-synth, vintage mellotrons, classic hats and claps, sweeping production (courtesy of Alex Bhore at Dallas’ Elmwood studios) and sparse synth melodies converge in dark analog pleasure that will guide you along like on a cool air-conditioned drive through a devilishly hot Texas night.
Listen to Minimal Compliance in full on Soundcloud.