Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Kelpe - Ex-Aquarium

With his new album, Kel Mckeown makes somewhat of a departure from the Tipper-esque brilliance of 2004's Sea Inside Body. In the process he creates a sound that's all his own. It's telling that it took this reviewer a couple of listens to fully appreciate this record, being that Ex-Aquarium wasn't what he anticipated it would(/should be). Sometimes the best albums are too subtly complex to fully comprehend upon initial experience. So whats different? Well, the clock-work percision beats Kelpe fans have come to expect are definitely here and there's still gobs of beautiful melody. But the glitches have been paired down significantly, in a tasteful less-is-more fashion. This has left room for experimenting with texture and composition. Much of his previous work has been dense, claustrophobic and quite somber in tone. The mood here is more varied- Whirlwound feels almost breezy by comparison. And although this music is not minimal by any means, his restrained choice of elements; of rhythm melody, and atmosphere give the compositions some breathing room. The sound over all is expansive and somewhat more organic than what we've heard prior. The drum's in many of the songs sound like actual drum kits complete with high hats and toms. And this time around Kel's even gone to the trouble of hiring a session drummer and renting a studio to lay live drums for several of his pieces [Shipwreck Glue (a favorite of mine), Colours Don't Leak and Cut it Upwards].

It's really hard to follow a masterpiece, and most artists either fail to equal their former efforts or end up more or less recreating them. Props to Kelpe for taking risks and still delivering the goods.

1 comment:

Cassandra said...

Nice work Atticus. You have a way with words. : )