London based electronic marvel Kel McKeown – aka Kelpe – celebrates ten years of sonic boundary pushing with new new LP 'Fourth: The Golden Eagle' on brand new label, DRUT.
Setting to work with a selection of analogue synths – Moog, Korg Polysix, Korg MS10 and Doepfer Dark Energy – the Ableton aficionado and purveyor of warped, cut 'n' spliced cliq-hop beats has delivered a handcrafted, 10-track masterpiece of an album which draws upon the strengths of his previous three. It's softer, warmer and more graceful than 2009's 'Cambio Wechsel', with a strong melodic element, and one which will secure his place in the canon of post-IDM greats.
Rollicking opener and curveball 'Astrolomy' brings to mind the mesmeric Anatolian guitar of 'After Gold' – a standout track on 'Cambio Wechsel' – swishing its tail to syncopated drum rolls as it dodges electro bolts-out-of-the-blue. It's followed by the lush, soulful, heavenly Baths-esque future pop of 'Beaks of Eagles' – with gloopy synths, hollowed beats and obfuscated crowd chatter - the kind of song that chillwave probably wanted to be, but never quite was.
The shoegaze-ready 'Nice Eyes In My Size', with twinkles of xylophone and twisted, subtractive synths aping the guitar's wah-ing licks, is pursued and offset by the squelchy industrial clamour of ensuing track 'Single Stripe', which metamorphoses from techno to dream-pop in one fell swoop, glossed over with fade-out vocals and a denouement of synthetic steel drums.
Other LP highlights include 'Glinterlude' - a heavily textured, urgent, percussive-led, 8-bit behemoth of a track - the sweet 'n' sour pop hook of 'Superzero Theme' and the minimal, glitchy cut 'Outwhere'.
The 7-minute white noise drenched, 'Answered' is the epic finale to the LP, and is released as the first single on the 15th April.
Kelpe says this of the lead single: “On the whole LP, I was trying to make the warmest and most analogue sounding thing I've done, and I think it came out best on 'Answered'. The rest of the LP, in a way, is an extended build up to that favourite track on the record, which in itself was an opportunity to take leave of everything preceding it and go off on an epic trip. The proggy twinkles make me think of Christmas but the guitar and four to the four feel are also a touch balearic. The vocal samples and textures are Norwegian and make me think of Scandinavia. There's a video being made by Jonathan Lieb that he is filming in Denmark about a girl becoming obsessed with looking for jigsaw puzzle pieces.”
Trailing the live circuit from California to Lithuania alongside diverse acts such as Aphex Twin, Ghostpoet, Squarepusher and Daedelus Kelpe has made a name for himself both as an explosive solo act and as a duo with longtime collaborator Chris Walmsley (Gruff Rhys, Neon Neon, Psapp).
Published: 9th May 2013