“Kontakte”: sounds like a German techno musical, in actual fact a four-piece from London playing post-rock. With their mix of Bavarian heritage and dour British attitude, they might also be descendants of the current royal family. But Kontakte pack a secret weapon in the fact that one of them’s a would-be Brian Eno: along with the usual post-rock components (chiming guitar, loud guitar, pauses, drumming) lies a bank of cutting edge electronics—electronics that could probably go on by themselves to have a successful 36-year solo career. And if the golden rule of experimental music is IDM + post-rock = new heights of preposterousness, Kontakte pack a backup secret weapon in the fact that they hold an actual tune, and play material you can remember without having to cocoon yourself in your bedroom, light candles and wade through a mammoth drone build-up first.
Following the example set on 2009’s Soundtrack to Lost Road Movies, sophomore LP We Move Through Negative Spaces is an equally melodic collection, and not—as you might expect—a concept album written by neutrinos. Already turning heads among the more accommodating post-rock blogs, WMTNS is marked by a string of potential singles (well, if not actual singles, then certainly a pile of standalone tracks that could be dubbed over epic scenes in war films). “The Owls Won’t See Us In Here” is one such example, presumably written for a future film in which a Special Forces patrol gets stalked by hooting birds of prey. That said, given the repetition and melancholy that Kontakte weave their material from, it’s also just as likely to be about someone who’s been dumped and is now walking around a ring road. We’re first treated to the kind of melodic hiccuping that helped bounce Frog Pocket down from the mountains, but then individual guitars start chiming, and you can picture each member of Kontake composing while walking home from a night club, alone. But that doesn’t last long, luckily, and after a blast suddenly there’s that emotion the track was aiming for, arriving just before the piano to distract you from the inevitable repeat of the first half (which doesn’t happen). At seven minutes, “Owls” might be a stretch, but it more than pays off with surprises in the end. And anyway, it wouldn’t be post-rock if it didn’t force you to be just a little bit patient to enjoy it.