The Albums of 2011 – #3 Kuedo – Severant
So, Bronze Award for the Clockwork Shorts: Album of the Year goes to Jamie Teasdale, formerly one half of dubstep duo Vex’d, and now working solo as Kuedo. Fittingly released on Mike Paradinas’ Planet Mu record label, it harkens back to the mid-1990’s Artificial Intelligence series of albums on Warp that led to the somewhat unfortunate genre name of “IDM.”
There are certain keywords that appear to be obligatory when talking about this album, so let’s get them out of the way: Vangelis, Blade Runner, Tangerine Dream, Carly Simon, Tony’s Theme From Scarface, footwurk, coke rap. There we go. Whoops, nearly forgot 808. That’s better.
Anyway, Severant in some senses shares a lot of DNA with #4 on this list, Glass Swords – there’s definitely a sci-fi element at play here and indeed the 1980’s nostalgia is up front and centre. Wilfully low-fi sounding instrumentation is an element of both albums too – Severant appearing to be almost hand crafted rather than edited together in a computer: I can happily imagine a live band behind a huge bank of synthesisers, 808s and Keytars playing this album to their hearts’ content.(Damn – Vangelis got there first!) Where the two part company however is that whilst Glass Swords is like an ADD-afflicted blipvert of influences, Severant is defiantly consistent in its sounds and atmospheres.
There’s a glacial flow & mathematic, almost architectural precision to the 15 emotive tracks of this album – one can’t help but think that Le Corbusier would have loved this it if he’d heard it. No track overstays its welcome, and the album as a whole is a brisk listening experience, as well as a wholly immersive one. Tentative, tinkling melodies dapple the big brassy synth washes like plankton dancing around a killer whale; jittery spiders-legs percussive rhythms call to mind a long-forgotten time when Autechre were an act one could relax to.
Ultimately, Severant is a beautiful body of work that manages to sound both upfront and horizontal at the same time (I’d be fascinated to see how people react at any live shows). Don’t just take my word for it though, you can stream the entire album on the Planet Mu website.
Updated (10/04/12): Konx Om-Pax & Kuedo have collaborated to create a video for album track Ascension Phase. Enjoy:
Please come back at the same time tomorrow to see my pick for Album #2 of 2011. I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe.
The Clockwork Shorts 2011 retrospective can be browsed for your pleasure right HERE