dimanche, juillet 10, 2005

kalk seeds

"Every now and then a little record label, in the great morass of record labels, produces a compilation that is truly original and charming – and Kalk Seeds is such a compilation.

The label has been established for eight years now, producing eclectic electronic music and giving artists the complete creative freedom to express themselves unhindered. You only have to hear this 16-track album to appreciate that assertion, and realise why Karaoke Kalk, and the few other labels around of its ilk, are so important to the progression of electronic music.

To be honest, not every track is my cup of tea, many are so bizarre and abstract it’s hard to know how to enjoy them. But I fundamentally acknowledge that a label such as this will always throw up gems, whilst other labels are all too depressingly willing to prosper from their uniformity.

However, scouring through this collection, many tracks pricked up my ears. Saving Juno, from Roman, is an impressive opener – an elegant slab of pop/funk, bounded by its off-the-wall choral backdrops. Then there’s the Sora & Wechsel Garland track Spring - with its bizarre arrangement of bells, horns, manipulated clicks and cuts, and even banjos. This is followed by the delightfully authentic guitar and violin fusion, Mio Pianto, by Tagkagi Masakatsu, a classically arranged folk song that is stunningly beautiful in its simplicity. Takeo Toyama’s Der Meteor later follows in its footsteps, its classical piano and strings worthy of comparison to any Ryuichi Sakamoto soundtrack piece - high praise indeed.

There are more gems too. I enjoyed the Le Rok track, Directors Cut – full of cutesy beats and intricate sampling, its haunting, whining synth and off-colour pitches conveying some deeply satisfying melodies. You’re left asking, what sort of pop music is this? Meanwhile, Pascal Schafer’s Tic Tic is another lingering nugget, with ambient synth melodies warmly floating over soft techno-flavoured loops and reverbed thread sounds – again, this transports your emotions to a different place altogether.

In between all of these, we have more off-the-wall, avant-garde experiments. Karaoke Kalk champions their album as having generic interpretations rooted in techno, abstract electronica and minimalism, which is true, but for me this album is most strongly rooted in the folktronica genre. Yet each and every artist is allowed to play unconstrained, like big stones thrown into a small pond, its ripples are always looking to seep through the secretions of its barracades, and Karaoke Kalk wisely ensure there are plenty of holes for them to escape through."


01. Roman = Saving juno
02. Hausmeister = Pumer
03. Sora/Garland = Spring
04. Hauschka = Two stones
05. Takagi Masakatsu = Mio pianto
06. Kandis = Letter
07. Le Rok = Directors cut
08. Toog = Ugly ducklings
09. Pascal Schäfer = Tic tic
10. Donna Regina = Slow killer
11. Kuchen meets Mapstation = Kmm
12. Takeo Toyama = Der meteor
13. Leichtmetall = Wir sind blumen
14. Kan Daisuke = Xi-huan
15. Poto&Cabengo = Suevian rhapsody
16. März = Welt am draht

Bonus: Pluramon = White eyes - quick time movie