If you ever heard DJ Shadow’s story about playing a tune that was ‘too future’, causing promoters to pull the plug during his set at a Miami nightclub; you’re probably aware of Krampfhaft’s 2011 EP Spit Thunder. Since then, the Netherlands-based producer has continued to blend booming electronics with subtler, synthetic sounds to form heady musical journeys that perpetually twist and obfuscate like an eternally spiralling staircase.
On his latest LP Before We Leave, he keeps his tortuous track record in tact, producing claustrophobic instrumentals equally at home gurning on large dancefloors as they would be dripping sweat onto the sticky floors of the dingiest drug dens. From the vertigo-inducing transformers funk of Superfluid to Frostbite‘s static storms, Krampfhaft constantly reinterprets his sound with layer upon layer of subtle sonic adjustment; if you had a hard time following Inception, be prepared for your head to pop clean off upon a focused listen to this sixteen song exercise in contortion.
Southern snare rolls glaze the world’s calmest crunk melody on Clip Point, unmercifully holding back a drop while filtering in a dense fog of ambient sound; while mellow strains lift the tone on Extrasolar, and Spinner plays like a demonically possessed washing machine stuck on it’s final cycle. Modulating synths shriek like demented seagulls to stalk Toekan‘s shadowy nether-regions, before a tonal shift contrasts on the title track, building on sturdy melodic foundation with glowing notes that vividly conjure a late-eighties neon Tokyo.
As church bells fade into hyper, jutting cuts on Dormant Code, Mostly Empty Space provides a break in the heavier, technological sounds while retaining the repetitive motion that propels the LP, churning with the regularity of factory workers. Veluwe is cosy like Lonnie liston Smith and Roy Ayers jamming on a school-night sleepover, while Everything Is Slowly Breaking provides a counter-balance to it’s predecessor through icy piano drips.
Fans of Evenings and Gold Panda will greet the calm swells of Immensely Small with open arms, while Deleted and Alternate Scenes holds the potential to please those seeking hard-edged saccharine pop hooks; and as the depressingly danceable loops on Waiting For Emma interweave to finalise this impressively expansive first album; Krampfhaft’s attention to detail and highly attuned ear for melody have offered a more chilled, but increasingly accomplished version of his distinct sonic vision.
Buy it from itunes here.