kettel – music review

Kettel –  Myam James Part 1
released by Sending Orbs on 15 April 2008
data : 11 tracks . 53:14  run time .

reviewed by: Paul Morin

Packaging : Puzzling album cover with a golf cart/ motorcycle hybrid being driven by a fish-headed man. Looks like that kid you knew in high school that was pretty good at drawing got bored in study hall and went to town on the back of his notebook.

content : Kettel’s music stands firmly between IDM and Ambient Techno, composing tracks similar to Aphex Twin’s Ambient works or Ulrich Schnauss’ dreamscapes. While not breaking any new ground or creating its own place in the electronic universe, it has a relaxed, passive approach similar to watching clouds on a sunny day. Or, as Tony Wilson’s character (playing God playing Tony Wilson) said in 24 Hour Party People, “It’s good music to chill out to.”

Vertically, the music is very interesting, new sounds are added on top of existing loops and pads to create a dense atmosphere akin to Eno or The Orb. Horizontally, the music is fairly stagnant, it starts with a beat, adds and drops instruments, and ends in the same place it started with little or no development. The music doesn’t demand attention; it creates a mood and then swirls around in its own colors. There isn’t much particularly memorable or hooky in the melodies created, nothing gets stuck in your head and there isn’t anything to whistle to yourself after the music has ended. As such, it serves as background music, best for doing chores around the house or a lazy Sunday drive. Fortunately, Kettel’s ability to layer sounds saves the album from sliding into monotony. Despite the lack of movement, there are some great textures that lure the listener in to the dreams being created.

The strong points of the album are those that favor ambiance over all else, particularly the hypnotic “The Church” and the spacey “Ende”. Both have such nice textures and tones that they transcend the lack of movement. Better still, Secede’s remix of “The Church” approaches Haujobb’s dark, ambient EBM, and has an eerie, futurist quality that wouldn’t be out of place on the Tron soundtrack.

Overall, the album is nice if nothing else. It isn’t particularly challenging or original, but is full of great ideas that ultimately create nice textures suitable for your next headphone-induced trip.

recommended tracks : The Church, Ende, The Church (Secede remix)

grade : B (music : B . lyrics : n/a . recording quality : A)

reviewed by : Alex Kourelis

genre : Electro/House/Acid/Dubstep

content : This disc really surprised me.  At first you get an acid bassline and a drum pattern without much depth, but halfway through the first track I knew there were some angles I hadn’t considered from the onset.  The chord structure is really what shines on this disc, most of all from song to song.  Although it seems the number of instruments used was rather limited, Kettel proves that it’s not the tools you use but how you use them.  He pounds this point home with shining pieces that smack of a very adept musical hand.  It’s obvious very quickly that unlike most pop music, Kettel wishes to bring a classical influence to the table… albeit with a TB-303 acid line.  The production is lacking however in that there isn’t much punch to the recording at all.  Some parts seem more thin than others (very evident from the drums) and especially the mood setting pieces could be enhanced by a re-mix to add ambience.

recommended tracks : Shimamoto, Church, Palles’s Popsong

if you like you might like : Solvent, Add N to (X), Das Kraftfuttermischwerk

grade : B (music : A . lyrics : n/a . recording quality : C)

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