Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A Decade Later, DnB Legend Drops a Bomb....


Legendary  Drum n Bass producer Photek recently dropped KU:PALM,  his first album in over a decade, and it'd be a shame to miss out on this fresh sounding album that updates the producers' classic sound.  After a brief hiatus from the scene, anticipation has been building since Photek delivered his last two EPs Aviator and Avalanche. He's also  been re-positioning himself and gaining traction on dancefloors by ambitiously remixing. His take on Daft Punk's TRON  theme earned him a GRAMMY nod in 2012.  At GG we're grooving on his remix of Lana Del Rey's track "Ride". fact we think we've found our shredding anthem for this season...just ride...and listen to the track  (below review and links).   When you add consider this and other reworks of such diverse acts as MOBY, Rob Zombie, Amon Tobin, Distance, and Chairlift it's clear Photek is an adaptable fellow.

Rewarding fans patience, Photek delivers an album not strictly bound to the genre pigeon-holes of EDM, but rooted in quality sound and a passion for innovation.   As Photek put it,  “This album had to be the right listening experience for the headphone listeners as much as on a club soundsystem.” His collaborative work extends from his remixes to tracks of his own tunes featuring vocals by such diverse voices as  Ray La Montagne, Linche, and Veronika Coassolo on KU-PALM

Pete Tong, host of Essential Mix on BBC Radio 1,  lauded Photek  in a recent interview with the producer, proclaiming him: "One of the most groundbreaking producers that the UK has ever seen...  In 20 years, he has released some of the most influential drum & bass records ever made”.If you're expecting the drum & bass the producer is best known for on this album though, you might be disappointed. There are some  mystical melodies that are reminscent of Solaris, overall the sound is more punchy pop than we would have expected, even tredding into house and glitch in some places.  It's a solid album that should certainly have dancefloors moving, but it's a very different energy from the mid-90s Photek that we have always grooved on. The steady beats are there though, but the lush ambience is replaced by something more frantic (but not in that hard-skankin way either).  "Munich" gives us some of the melodic Photek we're looking for and "Shape Charge" has the dark atmosphere and heavy kicks and spot on shakes, but after all this time, Photek's evolution has certainly brought him into different territory on other parts of the album. Evolution is to be admired though, and many of the surprises to be heard on KU-PALM are pleasant.

The album's third track "Aviator" is aptly named, as it has an undertone of epicness that gives the sensation of floating. Another  track for the snow day riding list for sure. "One of a Kind", which 
 features Breakage and Veronika Coassolo has a similar epic build. It's drop, with an accompanying low rumbly bassline, is bound to be irresistible on the dancefloor. 
"Sleepwalking" has sultry female vocals and a piano melody that gives good drama, with solid drums dropping in and a nice cinematic  break mid-track. This has the most DnB sound and grimey elements that we want from Photek, plus we always love a vocal snarled out by a chick who sounds like she rode up to the studio on a motorcycle.  

"Pyramid", the album's opening track, was also  the first track released on Pitchfork. Click on the image below to download this downtempo instrumental track. One of our favorites, with a dark jazzy vibe and some eastern elements that add depth. If you dig on this variation of Photek's sound, you may also dig on "Quevado", which pulses around a female vocal and steady groove.

You can snag the album on PhoteksWebsite or Itunes.  Also make sure to listen to his Essential Mix, which aired on October 6, 2012 on BBC Radio 1 and to check out his upcoming feature on Skream & Benga's History of Bass Show on BBC Radio 1 as well.  Photek toured European and American festivals, art galleries and clubs in 2012. With this new release we'd venture to guess that he'll be staying fairly busy as we head into 2013.  And if the digital version of KU-PALM isn't enough for you, keep an eye out for selected tracks to be offered on vinyl at the end of 2012 and early 2013.  




BoomKat                                BeatPort 

Give a Listen to Photek's Remix of Lana Del Rey's track "Ride"

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