Sometimes an artist is so fully immersed in their own sonic universe that I am left a little speechless and Kief Knifing’s “Pop” is a fine example of a truly original work. A careful mixture of old school ambient psychedelic meets contemporary geometric beat-making, the songs are highly intricate. The way that he lets the works evolve belies an incredible work ethic for these highly versatile, living creatures invite the listener into teeming worlds. Layer upon layer gets brought into the fray in a way that further adds to the kaleidoscopic effect of the many different patterns. Without saying a word an entire narrative takes shape, one that feels real, truly lived-in.
From the get-go there are a number of different artists that add their own distinctive influence into the mix. On the newer side of things, the polished production and elastic grooves recall the unique duo of Mouse on Mars. Similar to their work, Kief’s output combines electronic and rock elements in a way that overwhelms the senses. He embraces the abstract side of things as well, going for the full-on glitch cadence of Oval. There is something quite elegant about his execution though, something that shows off his unique approach.
“Awake For a Year” starts things on a high note, as chords and sounds blend into a playful series of textures. Melodies infused within the atmosphere further add to its depth. Beats cascade downwards on the giddy “A Parliament of Owls”. Ritualistic in its own way the aptly named “Marina Abramović” incorporates tradition within the sound, featuring elements of dance music reconfigured in creative, ornate ways. Layer upon layer wafts up into the infinite on the soothing “E Ulay Moma 2010”. Regal chords give “Rhythm 0” a classical cadence for there is a tenderness in the very center of it. Much more on the dub side of things comes the minimalism of “How Great the Wall?”. Following perfectly from the previous piece “This Was the Most Important Part” conjures up imagery of vast, wide-open spaces. Beats bounce off each other on the dizzying display of “Grapefruit”. Unfurling at its own pace “Lambs Breath” features a delicate balance between pop and avant-garde tendencies. Cleverly done “Zone Rouge” has such depth to it, with the sounds seemingly part of a greater ecosystem.
The buildup of “Thee Infinite Genesis” has a grandeur behind it, with swirling effects adding to the work’s delicate voice. Beats bring in a bit of footwork’s explorations with tempo on “Screaming Out”. Virtually hushed there is a feeling of awe with “Silence” as it evolves in a methodical manner. Little lullabies filter on into the forefront with “Breach” having a giddy tension-filled persona. Pieces of hip-hop reinterpreted in completely off-the-wall way make “The Five Points” a rather fragile work. Forgoing beats entirely “Lupercalia” serves as an immersive ambient experience. “Hexennacht” has a tropical flavor to it, akin to contemplating sunsets. Inclusion of field recordings give “The Unveiling” a sense of life to it. One of the stronger glitch-laden works comes from the woven together spirit of “Halloween”. Effortlessly tying it all together comes the meditation of “Sol Invictus”.
“Pop” shows off Kief Knifing’s deft skill in introducing the listener to their own vision, one that combines the old and new with ease.