Wednesday, November 14, 2012

KEMPER NORTON Collision/Detection v6

This sixth release in the Collision/Detection series is by Brighton resident Kemper Norton, once part of "the moribund Cornish slurtronic folk scene". Where do you go from there? How could anyone pen a better - or even an equal - description to capture the mood of these four tracks? As you will remember Collision/Detection is a collaborative series of releases throughout 2012 – version 4 with Hong Kong In The 60s featured here in July. But as the year progresses, it’s the stark differences not the overlaps that are becoming more and more apparent with each edition.

Kemper Norton’s contribution to the series is a dark, tense, head-messing listen with the four tracks – all sparsely titled by single-word pronouns – seamlessly flowing into each other. It makes an unnerving listening experience in which rural isolation and domestic violence become a frighteningly real and intimidating presence.

‘Him’ marries a stark folk tale of wife-beating narrated via ominous David Tibet-like spoken word passages with overlapping spooky drones and library music corruptions that recalls the sculptured noise of Coil. It finishes with snatches of villager voices – whether genially carousing in the pub or planning a lynching it’s difficult to discern, which only adds to the sense of threat. The anxious instrumental ‘Us’ would fit on an Autechre record: it’s built on distorted car-alarm pulses, spacey glitches and longwave interference. It is relatively the most becalmed of the four tracks but its restlessness does not bring calm. ‘Them’, another instrumental, is all swirling, spectral foghorn groans and creaks before the final ‘Her’ which contrasts mechanical grind with sing-song lullaby about vanquishing the devil (”he can’t have a harbouring here”). The track fades out, the tension subsides, but there’s little sense of relief or conclusion. A shadowy, austere record but a powerful and all-consuming listen. Recommended - but not too close to bed-time.

Kemper Norton Collision/Detection v6 [BUY or BUY]

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