Shoegazers Kontakte come out of the woodwork for 'These Machines', their new eight track mini-record that covers two years of artistic processes. It's the follow-up to their recent 'Fear of Music' EP and finds them on their very own record label for the first time, which they have ambitiously -- and with lots of post-rock hand gestures -- titled The Collapse Of Everything.
7/10 Mike Staff review, 03 September 2014
Shoegaze-lovin' post-rockers Kontakte are back this week with a new CD which has some elaborate cardboard artwork in true post rock tradition. Thankfully their music isn't quite so traditional, following the genre's formula of dynamic ebbs and flows but adding in glitchy electronics, shoegazey walls of noise and punchy, percussive riffing, in a way that often brings to mind 65daysofstatic or even A Place To Bury Strangers in its searing peaks. Second track 'Fear Of Music' in particular is reminding me of 65dos with its dinky spluttering drum machine groove poking through layers of synth drone and crackling guitar distortion, but it's the moments when they break free of the formula that hit the hardest.
A particular highlight is the one-two punch of 'Space Junk' and 'Immortal Engines' towards the end. The former throws crunchy digitally distorted percussion over a softly uplifting chord sequence and gloopy synth stabs and kind of sounds like a broken C64 playing an Apparat Organ Quartet song through blown-out speakers. It does get more chaotic as it progresses but maintains an understated tension rather than going for the full-on climactic pay-off that they indulge on some other tracks (although even on those numbers I'm very much enjoying the understated melodies and tricksy electronic rhythms that lead us there).
The latter starts with mournful Mogwai-ish twinkles with coolly meandering beats ornamented by subtle electronic twitches and squiggles, only for the guitar to drop out and a buzzing electric drone to overtake the drums before it bursts into a passage of pulsating, skittish acid house, before finally throwing the two halves together in an euphoric climax. Overall it's a solid album, less predictable than I had feared, and evidence that there's still a few decent ideas to be flogged out of the post-rock horse yet.
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- These Machines by Kontakte
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