Thursday, 29 April 2010

RECOMMENDED: Kowton - Basic Music Knowledge/Hunger [Idle Hands]

One of the unavoidable issues associated with music blogging, as highlighted so eloquently by Kode9 in a recent interview with Resident Advisor, is for a fickle online community to make out that there’s some kind of revolutionary shift occurring every time a decent new track is released. Unavoidable, because among such a large group of individuals there will always end up being at least one person who hears something extra special in any given release. With that in mind, that the praise has been pretty much universal for Idle Hands’ 12” releases is testament to Bristol’s capacity to nurture unique music. While never claiming to offer radical upheavals, the imprint has consistently put out material that suggests a concentrated distillation of form and function. Each – the rolling technoid mutations of the ‘anonymous’ first 12”, the hypnotic tropicalia of Atki2 and Dub Boy’s anthemic ‘Tigerflower’, and now two slow-mo transmissions from Kowton – is finely-honed evidence of how far UK bass music can deviate from the norm.

In the case of these two tracks from Kowton, what immediately strikes the listener is just how slow they are. We’re used to escalating tempos in nuum music; certain quarters aside, drum ‘n’ bass continues to peak well above the sensible limit, and at the wobbly ends of dubstep some artists are pushing for 150bpm. So it’s a refreshing change to hear a producer slow their music down to a snail’s pace. In this case, these two tracks are a culmination of what Kowton started with his bewitching ‘Stasis (G Mix)’, stretching the beats out to allow ample space for swing and crafting house tracks that flex like garage. ‘Basic Music Knowledge’ does exactly that, brooding darkly over nocturnal pulses of sub-bass and percussion that hesitates just enough to introduce palpable tension. ‘Hunger’ is even better, filled with a sense of twilight yearning appropriate to its title, and so cavernous in depth that it feels far slower than its already soporific pace.

Words: Rory Gibb
Out: Now


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