Friday, March 30, 2012

Kenneth Lay – Valhalla EP (Bruxist, 2012)

Kenneth Lay – Valhalla EP
Bruxist 2012

Zero info on this free release from Philly based label Bruxist. “The Bet” starts off with some initially free form, modulating analog synth loops. Notes shift at a medium pace and layers are added on top in quite a hypnotic and harmonic way. About halfway through the synth sounds become more fixed and rhythmic as a low, 4/4, bass beat enters, if a bit off-beat with the synth. The bass beat gets pretty fast and techno-y. “At Large” features a couple bass-y beats, this time a bit more rhythmically complex. Things start getting groovier as more rhythmic drum machine and synth textures are added into the mix, emphasizing different polyrhythms. Not really any melodic instrumentation heard, but it’s fine without it. “Ghetto Bird" is composed of a singing bowl being struck with an initially a-rhythmic bass-y synth beat. Eventually the bass falls into place with the singing bowl sound, lining up rhythmically, as more rhythmic synth textures join in on different beats of the rhythm. Definitely an “IDM”/techno vibe going on as the bass gets more bumpin’. The rhythms and textures shift and transform while still maintaining the beat, which is key. “Blunt Fumble” features a similar technique of adding polyrhythmic layers consisting of drum machine and synth textures. The EP maintains a minimalist aesthetic without any dominant melodic structures, but nonetheless I think it works quite well by focusing and exploring more on the percussive and textural elements.

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