freqzine reviews “we move through negatives spaces” by kontakte

Posted by on Apr 12, 2011 in kontakte, review | No Comments

Kontakte are one of those bands whose music is determined to make all the angst and cares of the world slip away into the place buried far, far away from the territory which they map out with bright-eyed enthusiasm, a landscape participated in through endless journeys and defined by bright colours sharply-defined in broad, dynamic strokes. This is not to deny the hint of melancholia, but as the music shifts the mood evolves into one of hopeful optimism, slipping into the realms of sun-dappled intensity on waves of heart-breaking/soothing strings and ultimately uplifting electronics while the guitars bring the noise as and when the motion can no longer be denied.

As hinted at on the “Superbug” single, the drum machines are performing new duties for Kontakte as compared to the simpler  structures which anchored their 2008 début album Soundtracks To Lost Road Movies. Now, scuttling breakbeats shift the motive forces in less motorik directions, a change of gear at the heart of their sound which is complemented by the strings which ride on the swell of lushly-glimmering synth pads. Sidling in a hiss of vinyl static, crackle and pop, there are hints not only of acts who have explored these electro-symphonic pastures such as Icebreaker International but as ever the kosmische influence of Cluster in their sugartime electronica phase is never entirely absent, nor are the ancestral influence of Manuel Göttsching‘s utopian guitar as played in Ash Ra Tempel. But as heard on the epic rising tide of “Hope,” Kontakte are very much their own band, effortlessly achieving weightless lift-off on a helix swirl of slap-back echoes and heads-down, rocket-fuelled riffing.

It is simply impossible to be remotely unhappy while listening to this album. What is so engaging about We Move Through Negative Spaces though is the balance struck between the deceptively simple way in which a song can go from ultra-pleasant uncoiling ripples of guitar, glockenspiel glimmer and intricate rhythm programming to reach so hard for the stars that this music could be used as soundtrack to an motivational course video aimed at curing the hard of heart or the down of mood. It is simply impossible to be remotely unhappy while listening to this album; wistfully melancholic, perhaps, at the point of maximum immersion in such moving pieces as “A Snowflake In Her Hand,” where the cello and guitar segue together over the background hiss as they rise and ebb into a reflective percussion blissout, but never sad. Instead, Kontakte produce a bitter-sweet elevation of the senses, and achieve a Zen state of balance in the process.

– Richard Fontenoy

original review