World View EP

Khan Kurra
World View EP
Fluorescent Records

We have traversed […] immense water spaces and have beheld in the ocean huge waves like mountains rising in the sky, and we have set eyes on barbarian regions far away hidden in a blue transparency of light vapors, while our sails, loftily unfurled like clouds day and night, continued their course [as rapidly] as a star, traversing those savage waves as if we were treading a public thoroughfare… – Zheng He (1371-1433, Chinese explorer)

Asian and tribal influences run deep throughout Khan Kurra’s World View EP of ambient house music. Occasionally veering into horror movie soundtrack cliché (as Witch House and its subsidiaries are wont to do), it still has a few standout tracks that warrant a few good listens at the very least. It also features heavy use of water’s aural powers with drips and echo-y bites of sound that accost from all sides. Even on my little computer speakers, the music vibrates the room. The music calls to mind the explorations of Admiral Zheng He of the Ming Dynasty who traveled all around the Indian and Pacific oceans in the early 1400s and according to some, discovered the New World a century before Columbus. It’s beautiful work and masterfully mixed by Khan Kurra. If you’re feeling a little James Cook, this album will take you there.

The opening track [Chart the Waters] is musty, dark, and brooding with a distorted voice over and fleeting beats. The tracks that follow use these drum variations of taps, clicks, and catastrophic synth barrages to disorient the listener. Distant horns grace the titular third track which incorporates traditionally pentatonic Eastern Asian melodic devices and it’s a definite highlight of the album. Fifth track, [Fishes] uses a frenzied tribal rhythm to back up an evanescent vocal track and comes across as ghostly glamorous. Finally, [Aquilateral] finishes the album with a sweepingly lux array of synthesizer and the gentle crashing of waves on some newly discovered shore. The album then ends with a sonar-like ping of synth which continues to explore, as if the protagonist is still searching for whatever it is he seeks. In the strictest definition of the word: fabulous.

As my second “witch house”-electronica-ambient-house review I have to say that the genre has opened my mind to what’s new and good in music but not necessarily popular. Pop’s main objective is to capture the easily accessible moments from different musical movements and present them as a polished, finished product to a mass consumer base for immediate pleasure. The issue with this particular movement is a lack of true accessibility. The genre isn’t for partying, it isn’t for listening to in the car, and it isn’t for sitting in your room and having a stare at the screen. It’s for thought. It’s for drugs. And it’s for cool Midtown parties with mood lighting and the hyper-chic. It may not be made by those people, or meant for that purpose; but that’s what it is: very smart, deep, fascinating background music.

~ by vinyabarion on July 8, 2012.

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