Fabulously creative spins on techno music from Karen Gwyer, back at last with a whole new full-length LP. Eight tracks, generally developed through going-with-the-flow in live performance, whip up a frenzy of pulsing rhythms, nodding to Detroit and weirder underground scenes alike. Rembo is out on Don’t Be Afraid.
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Wahey, it’s album time for KG, the scene’s biggest techno mum who is giving our Ant a run for his money for Techno Parent of the Year 2017. I’m sorry Ant, but you haven’t taken your kids to enough Surgeon sets yet. In reality this whole parent thing isn’t relevant at all, but everyone keeps talking about it as if it is. I bet Jeff Mills has a horde of 808-wielding brats that the press isn’t wailing about.
Last we heard from Gwyer was a string of 12”s over the last couple of years, the latest being the Dillon / Gwyer split that just flew off the shelves. It’s clear from these brief glimpses of her musical vision that she is managing to fuse the banging basses and percussion found in the most pumping of techno strains with more etherea, hovering synth tones but most importantly a sense of gently unfolding evolution in each track. Nope, you won’t find fat drops here, in fact, breakdowns are a rarity in KG’s techno land. They drive forward, layers ebbing and flowing in a more live, ‘jam’-y way, and Rembo is no different in that sense. But the way it’s all mixed definitely sounds like a step up; some of the choices of sound were slightly off in the past, but on this one the popping kicks of ‘Why Don’t You Make Your Bed’ meld comfortably with that groaning bass line and distantly warm pads.
Gotta say that the ones with the less straightforward 4x4 beats impress me the most, but that’s always been the way with me and technoish things. ‘Why Does Your Father Look So Nervous’ has an incredibly bouncy, almost (UK) funky set of lite kicks and staccato percussion stabbing away, so much fun. Oh, those song titles. Also very glad she’s still making those little micro tracks, the interludes that show her prowess with synth hypnotism and all round dreaminess. I’m sorry, I don’t know enough about techno to compare this to anything.
8/10 Tom Abram Customer review, 7th August 2017
Never been a fan of techno, so I'm not too sure how to write about it. A couple of years ago I saw a music video for Karen Gwyer's song 'Missisissipippi' on YouTube. It was really repetitive, quite psychedelic but beautifully produced - and since then, I've been keen on picking up her releases as I see them. This album follows her general trend, but with maybe less of the, psychedelic-ness (or psychedelia if you'd prefer.) There are so many other elements of electronic music thrown in there which I guess comes part and parcel with making an album of this particular genre - again, not really my forte. The opening track is a soundscape-y introduction, then it just gently places you into a bouncy but somehow quite industrial sounding "The Workers Are On Strike" which has also had a decent video done for it - not sure if it's official or not like. The songs that follow seem to switch between the use of retro sounding synth and lots of typical electronic pops and crackles and drums and these other elements played together in a rhythm that make up this type of music, some of it sounds dance floor appropriate, but I'm quite happy to enjoy it whilst cabbaged on the sofa.
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- Rembo by Karen Gwyer
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