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K-X-P – The History Of Techno

Öm

K-X-P - The History Of TechnoIt may seem ambitious to propose a histoy of techno in only four parts on one 12” single, but if there’s anyone who can do so, it’ll be the two drummers, bassist and one-man soul sonic force of K-X-PTimo Kaukolampi (of Op:l Bastards), Tomi Lepannen (also of Circle and Pharaoh Overlord, among many others), Tuomo Puranen, also of of Op:l Bastards, and Anssi Nykänen. K-X-P are Finland’s première exponents of the current wave of drummers mixing up with synthesists (see also Zombie Zombie, Gum Takes Tooth, Temperatures and Jakob Skøtt for starters) taking trance music to some pretty far-out, analogue-worshipping places; and their dedication to the endless groove, the timeless Öm (which they reflect in the name of their own label on which this single is released, though being big Motörhead fans, they add a diaeresis too) is well to the fore here.

That never-ending four-to-the-floor beat chugs its merry (or should that be ecstatic?) way throughout, winding sinuously in and out of the mix while shards of electronics whirl and pinch their psychedelic way from ear to ear and back to there again. Drops and polyrhythms, swerves and stops — all the tricks of techno are present and correct; and if this history is a tendentious, personal one, which history isn’t? So K-X-P’s techno is of the kind derived from the ur-beat of Manuel Göttsching‘s E2-E4, Kebeelektrik, Giorgio Moroder and Italo disco as much as it harks back to Juan Atkins, Derrick May or later Carl Craig in Detroit, but the thumping beat’s the same, while the dense clatter of percussion and synth stabs and extraneous noises off are all their own.

Each pair of histories is introduced by Kaukolampi muttering a brief chanted introduction, referencing to the prehistoric nature of trance rhythms which electronics and drumkits have only facilitated the expansion into a huge-ever growing dance party in every town, village, borrowed field and beach-front bar from the poles to the equator. But K-X-P are no Goa-seeking tourists; their engagement is far more intimately connected to the source than that. Each wave of repetitive BPMs brings forth further explorations of the form, condensed into squittering synths and swirly keyboards, descendant basslines and a haze of dancefloor fuzz while the percussion keeps up the trance tempo.

Even once the history lesson is done and the acid has pumped up the muscles as much as the volume and the last hi-hat has closed its twitching beat, K-X-P aren’t entirely finished. They drop in a bonus track, “She Time Travels in Every Direction, Whenever She Wants” and while its techno connections are stretched to the limit, a half-speed humping beat arriving slowly if determinedly after several minutes of looping synth introduction, it makes for a stirring coda to their necessarily brief and quirky introduction to their own quirky take on the genre.

-Linus Tossio-

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