Knxwledge – “Klouds” (2010)

One of the more interesting record shops we visited on our recent trip to Ireland was All City.  I’ve been to record stores that serve beer; I’ve even been to record stores that sell breakfast.  But I’ve never been to one that has more space devoted to the sale of spray paint than it does records.

All City is a combination label, record store, and urban art supply emporium.  Musically the selection is heavily weighted towards various types of electronic and beat centered music – a smattering of hip hop, but more geared towards beats, house, and the like.  While the overall selection was somewhat small, this was the first store I’ve been to with such a strong concentration (and selection) of this kind of music, so it was fun to flip through the boxes and see so much different stuff.  I only wish I’d had internet access so I could have looked up some of these artists – I might have walked out with more records.

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The guy working put Klouds into my hand – they’d just gotten a shipment of new copies in, what I believe to be a re-pressing of Knxwledge’s first LP release from 2010.  I wasn’t familiar with him but figured I’d give it a shot.  It’s a very interesting record – 15 electronic tracks that feel in some ways more like sketches than complete songs, most likely due to Knowledge’s disconcerting way of abruptly ending each one.  No fadeouts, no bringing down the tempo and thinning out the sound to bring it to a close.  The beats just stop.  (Silence).  Then the next song kicks in full steam ahead.  Absolutely not what I’m used to from my electronic music.

Musically Knxwledge has deep influences.  You can hear elements of jazz, soul, 80s style synths, hip hop… and everything in between.  The start/stop nature and relatively short runtimes of the songs makes this a more challenging experience than a lot of electronica records, but it also snaps you back to attention and prevents you from sort of zoning out to the music.  It’s certainly an interesting sound collage by this well-known beat-maker, though some of it feels a little incomplete, like it’s the middle of a song and not the whole thing.  That’s probably by design… though I’d be very interested to hear some remixes of Klouds, because there are some tremendous parts to this record.

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