The Low Indigo label that was launched by the Lighta! collective’s Michael Red is presented with a disclaimer stating “…only when it feels right,” yet there seems to be no time wasted in forming a collection of quality releases. Following swiftly from OKPK’s 2010 EP, Kline’s Mirror shows that the tagline is perhaps less an indicator of the regularity of output from the label, and more of a direct comment on a particular aesthetic: a focus on considered, subtle, and very well produced leftfield electronic music.
As a producer, Kline has been gaining a steady stream of attention recently (his performance at New Forms Festival this year was a weekend highlight) and in Mirror, it is easy to see why. In its four tracks there are common elements – delicate skittering percussion, sub-frequency bass lines and dreamy, sometimes haunting synths – that tie everything together and present an accomplished sense of personal style, but each is very much its own exploration.
There is a sense of constant musical experimentation throughout the EP. The opener, ‘This One Time,” sees a recording of background voices unexpectedly brought to the foreground briefly before the reverberating sub kicks back in with a half-time drumbeat, slightly ominous synth line and a plethora of fine-tuned percussive elements. “Peek-a-boo” is led by an ethereal synth line that pitches up and down in a manner that is both playful yet decisive. The echo-laden vocal samples, particularly in this tune and “Hearltess” lend an eerie sense of nostalgia to the music: a contemplative tone that it seems has often been a presence in Kline’s musical process.
“I started making music about three years ago because at that time I was feeling pretty down about things,” states Kline. “I didn’t want to reflect that in my fine art, so I decided to express myself through these weird melancholy hip hop beats. The music I’m making now is more geared towards sound design. Lots of panning, volume adjustments, textures… I’m always thinking about the environments these sounds and tunes will be played in and how I can manipulate that space and the people in it.”
A particular highlight on the EP is the final track, “Don’t You Worry,” which features fellow Chapel Sound artist Oshea Adams on vocals. “Oshea and I met through our regular Chapel Sound broadcastings on Wednesdays,” says Kline. “There we just kicked it and chilled. Funny thing is that no one knew Oshea could sing for a couple months until one night he showed us his songs and we all flipped out. He is a humble dude and so talented.”
Oshea puts an effortlessly heartfelt vocal alongside the understated emotion of Kline’s productions, with a song that Oshea says is “about wanting to leave the club with a girl after a party or night out.” The song creates a fitting end to this EP, which, with Kline’s ability to create such immersive sonic environments, instantly and seamlessly transports the listener into a world of musical and textural exploration.
Low Indigo releases Mirror this month.
By Andy Soloman
Photo: Brandon Gregory