Best Electronica Artist

If ever an album title seemed appropriate, it's Ischemic Strokes, the moniker Phoenecia slapped on its most recent collection, which gathered up kindred souls recording for their own Schematic label and placed them alongside the duo's own skittering, frazzled creations. After all, an ischemic stroke -- a sudden, sharp cutoff of the blood supply to an internal organ -- aptly ascribes the flavor of the music Romulo Del Castillo and Josh Kay fashion as Phoenecia: beats that reject a metronome lockstep in favor of an epileptic fit; manic buzzes and frantic clicks that evoke a computer's motherboard melting down; and an overall aural quality akin to the sound of plugging one too many power cords into an electrical outlet. 2001's Hal would most definitely approve. Of course there are hundreds of budding mad scientists all tweaking dance music into strange new forms. What elevates Phoenecia is its uniquely visceral "machines come alive" vibe. The sounds may not always be pleasant, but like a highway car wreck, it's hard to resist slowing down for a gander.


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