Tangibly thick, mostly beatless, electronic tracks from Konx-om-Pax. A lot of this record feels like peak-hour rave tracks but with most of the rhythm stripped out, leaving the bright melodies and the textures of the synths to do the ecstasy-generating work. No problem there: Caramel is as sweet as it claims to be. On Planet Mu.
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Remember that time you dropped a banging gurner and spent the next six hours munching your face off and talking shit? Even if it did happen to you, you probably won’t remember anyway. But the plan is, make you remember through dredging up echoey afterimages of the sounds you might have heard during the early hours, and presenting them as a euphoric ambient wash.
Apparently he followed Lone around on tour, providing visuals & DJ sets and engulfing the hedonism of life on the techno road, secretly absorbing it all to feed back into this release. Well now we’ve got the niceties out of the way, let’s get down to it. It’s not quite as pretty as the press release and I have made it seem; the second track ‘Perc Rave’ contains many gnarled drum loops amongst smothered voices and creepy Warp-esque synths lurking in the background. ‘Last Jam Forever’ focuses on that grinding bass that was in all the old rave stuff, in complete contrast to the uplifting major harmonies that Konx is playing. I guess that’s rave at it’s core really - friendly melodies over horrible, aggressive beats.
You won’t find many aggressive beats here though, not after that second one anyway. Where there are drums, they’re usually distant and reverbed like Jefre Cantu-Ledesma on that moon record. But most of the time, it’s like listening to a late 90s ecstasy tune with all the rhythmic bits chopped off, and an increase in layered detail to make up for it. How about those mangled ‘ohhh babyy’ samples on ‘Oren’s Theme’? They wail for 3 minutes like a good house number over classic glassy keyboards, before an even more grinding bass pops in at the end to further intensify the fray.
Overall this is pretty engaging, and while it will obviously appeal to rave nostalgists more than ambient aficionados, there’s serious depth of production here that the whole family can enjoy. Try it on your baby today.
7/10 Tony Y. 25th November 2016
As a follow up to 2011's ‘Regional Surrealism; this takes a brighter lit path, than that of Glasgow's concrete tower blocks littered with junkies and dropouts.
Inspired by computer gaming and rave culture,'Caramel' utilises synths to provide the a softer rhythmic flow. The upshot is that of a 70's nostalgic view of the future.
This kaleidoscope of sound draws the listener in well enough, as not to dismiss the album as a whole; playing on past visions of summers long gone. It's only failing however, is that the music itself will only appeal to a limited audience of ageing LSD dropping festival dwellers.
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