We Move Through Negative Spaces listed in “Top 5 Records of the Week” by When the Sun Hits
Review of Kontakte’s album We Move Through Negative Spaces at contactmusic.com
Kontakte follow-up their debut Soundtrack For Lost Road Movies with ‘We Move Through Negative Spaces’ their most accomplished work to date. No evidence of any difficult second album syndrome here. Indeed evidence points to the contrary with an EP release prior to the album of which no tracks appear on the album. Instead the band have chosen to continue progressing, honing their sound and as a result have made several significant steps forward.
This album is perfect soundtrack music. Album highlight Astralagus opens up proceedings, setting the scene and from hereon in you find yourself lost on a cinematic journey. Kontakte have employed the liberal use of strings throughout the album and this at times recalls Lazer Guided Melodies era Spiritualized without ever infringing on their own sound. Elsewhere epic sounds a la God Is An Astronaut are employed making this a very intense yet ultimately beautiful listen.
Kontakte have found themselves making many inroads lately, winning over new followers as they travel and this album can only seek to propel them forward. On the evidence of this, 2011 could very well be their year.
The new Kontakte album “We Move Through Negative Spaces” was reviewed by Future Sequence
Intensity and emotion are two really difficult elements to marry effectively in music. Too often, you hear records that fall too far on either side of the line; too focused on what’s pushed out sonically, or on cheap chord sequences – cliched tugs at heartstrings. The bottom line is, at the core of everything you listen to, you need heart. Give someone heart, and whatever kind of music you make, make sure it’s there for the listener to hear loud and clear.
For me, I want to hear it in the loudest moments – even in cacophony – and I need to hear it in the quietest, sparsest moments. If I can get that, I’m going to connect with it, I’m going to come back to it, I’m going to pick out different elements every time I listen, and I’m going to get that little bit more out of it every time. The simple fact is this: Take everything else away, and if all that’s left in your music is heart, you’re going to make some people really happy.
The difficulty is tapping into that and making sure it’s both heard and felt. Maybe you’ll nail it through happy accident, maybe it’s in your production, maybe it’s in your playing, or maybe it’s a combination of all of these. It’s so easy to start off with something that has it, and then produce and master it to hell and back and wipe away all the things that gave it heart in the first place. My music collection is full of these records, records that have been ruined by any number of factors and that only give glimpses of that part of music that’s needed most. These records ultimately leave you with a sense of both you and the artist being short-changed – a missed opportunity, permanent testament to the failure to convey one of the most fundamental elements in music that a listener will ever need.
‘We Move Through Negative Spaces’, is definitely not one of those records. It’s got heart stamped all over it – it’s in the guitar playing, it’s in the strings, it’s in the electronics – it’s everywhere. It’s a wonderful combination of electronica and post rock, and in it’s moments it’s a beautiful example of the marrying of intensity and space. It doesn’t try and and pull your heart out for you. Instead, it works it’s way slowly under your skin, until you’re giving it up piece by piece on each listen. On first listen, I found the electronica and post rock combination hard to reconcile. Yet it’s played beautifully, the production gives it a chance to breathe, and now I couldn’t imagine, and wouldn’t want it any other way.
There are obvious influences, but when music has this much heart, I’m not sure it really matters. This is an album I am loving listening to, and I imagine myself listening to a lot in the months to come. I’m not sure there are too many higher recommendations.
We Move Through Negative Spaces is released 11th April on US label Drifting Falling
Kontake to play a couple of UK shows over the next few days
Sat 12th Feb
Magic Pudding Avenue @<
Mama Liz’s Voodoo Lounge
9a North Street
Mon 14th Feb
Melting Borderline @
91 Brick Lane, E1 6QL
London, United Kingdom
7pm *FREE Entry*
Review of Kontakte’s “We Move Through Negative Spaces” from Tasty fanzine.
London-based instrumental 4-piece taking their name from the piece by electronica pioneer Karlheinz Stockhausen, release their follow-up to 2008’s “Soundtracks to Lost Road Movies”.
Consisting of electro-beat led instrumental mood-pieces that are texturally guitar-heavy, they tick most of the usual post-rock boxes (although judging by their interviews, they would probably resent such generic pigeon-holing) from Godspeed You Black Emperor and Mogwai, to contemporaries like This Will Destroy You. The ambient soundscapes also point to Brian Eno’s work with Robert Fripp, with squalls of guitar sound coming courtesy of 90’s shoegazers Slowdive. Most of the tracks hover around the seven minute mark aside from the album’s focal point, “The Ocean between You and Me”, a ten minute dreamy snow-blizzard of a song that leaves you with a fuzzy feeling inside. Other highlights are the forelorn sounding “Hope…”, the piano led “Early Evening Bleeds Into Night”, and the glacial “Every Passing Hour”.
A fine album for a Sunday afternoon’s looking out the window at the rain. 7/10
Here’s a really good interview with Kontakte from At The Sinema discussing the new album, ‘We Move Through Negative Space’.
KONTAKTE’s second studio album ‘We Move Through Negative Space’ hits the airwaves this April 11th and we here at ATS were lucky enough to get a sneaky peak. We loved it so much, we begged them for an interview and they happily obliged. The band have withdrawn from live performances for a while to concentrate on new material and worked incredibly hard to make the song writing, instrumentation and production better than their debut album and trust us, all that effort paid off. But I’ll let them do the rest of the talking:
ATS: On your myspace page, you describe your sound as ‘Hypnotic, textural, cinematic noise’, how did you find this sound?
K: Well, if we have arrived at that sound then we’re heading in the right direction. Its very difficult to analyse and describe your own music. These words were elements we wanted our music to include.
ATS: Are there artists out there who influence you?
K: There’s a myriad of artists who influence us certainly, but hopefully we are not influenced too directly or obviously with the sound we produce. The whole band listens to a range of similar ‘guitar bands’, perhaps anything from Mono to The Album Leaf, but individually each member definitely listens to different types of music that all gel together in the melting pot that is Kontakte. From Ludivico Einaudi, Eluvium, Torche, Nils Frahm, Bon Iver to Sunn O))) – its all in there.
ATS: Your second album ‘We Move Through Negative Spaces’ will be released in April – what can we expect?
K: What can you expect? A much stronger and concise record in comparison to the first. We are a much tighter unit now and the positivity of that certainly comes through in the music. We were very proud to have the first album released, at the time it was a massive boost to find a label that loved what we did and wanted to work with us – but once we started working on the second album properly it wasn’t long before it took its own path and we realized we were writing something that was going to take everything we had previously done up to another level.
ATS: A lot of artists struggle with ‘second album syndrome’. Did you find it hard to move away from your debut album and find something fresh?
K: In many respects this second album was an easier experience than writing the first. We started writing as soon as Album 1 was released, we had a few things half written and were just excited to be getting back into the studio. There was no ‘second album syndrome’ for us at all. As it is we’re already discussing Album 3! Though i think that’s quite normal for musicians and artists in general to always be looking forward and considering what you’re going to do next.
ATS: From the tracks I’ve listened to, there seems to naturalistic feel to the songs, is this something that influences you when writing a song?
K: A naturalistic feeling? That’s a good thing to hear when you consider all of our beats and rhythms are electronic. We certainly look for a warmth of tone when we produce our music. We want it to sound quite earthy. We are to some extent inspired by our surroundings, whether that would be the city or travels to other countries, staring at the sea or walking through a forest.
ATS: You played at the Feedback Fever Festival in Hamburg and have tour dates in Hamburg and Munich this year- we’re seeing a pattern- are you well received in Germany? Do you see a difference in audiences compared to gigs in England?
Feedback Fever in Hamburg have been very good to us. Their festival last year was our first show out of the UK and an amazing experience. We were very well received. There is definitely an enthusiasm out there that is incredibly difficult to capture at home, especially in London. I’m not sure exactly why that is other than they love their music and are simply happy to show it. They don’t expect to be impressed, they’re just up for a good time. We are heading back this spring for more dates and are hitting some more cities, it should be a good party.
ATS: If you could collaborate with anyone, who would it be?
K: Collaborating with a renowned producer would be great for us. The first and second albums were both self-produced so it would be interesting to hear what someone else would do with us and our music. Having other musicians whom we admire mixing our stuff would also be interesting. That’s what was great about the first album, having the entire record remixed by friends and other musicians we felt a kinship with. In every remix they brought out elements and created something different to what we had first produced. I’d love to hear what our album would sound like if Olafur Arnalds or even Brian Eno was behind the desk! That would be special.
ATS: If you could wipe any genre of music (or any musician) off the face of the earth who would it be?
K: Good question. Funk Rock is a bit of an oddity. Not sure we should signal any one musician individually though. I tend not to register music I don’t like, I find what I consider bad music quite easy to ignore.
ATS: And finally (and I’m very sorry about this, we decided this would be our generic ‘ask everyone question’ but didn’t really think it through) what underwear are you wearing?
K: I’ve just got out the shower so…. i’m not wearing any. You?
ATS: Funnily enough, as I’m writing this up, I’ve just got out of the shower too.
A glowing review of “We Move Through Negative Spaces” by Textura, one of our very favorite publications.
When Kontakte visited London’s Metropolis Studios to have its newly completed We Move Through Negative Spaces mastered, they heard the album played back through speakers standing eight feet tall. One can only begin to imagine how incredible the material must have sounded under such conditions, but the album sounds no less awesome when played on one’s living room stereo or even iPod. The second studio album from Ian Griffiths, Stuart Law, Gary McDermott, and Ben Worth can’t help but invite the ‘post-rock’ label when many of the genre signifiers are present and accounted for, with loud-soft dynamics and guitar-fueled climaxes being the two most obvious. Be that as it may, the album leaves a strong and lasting impression for being so clearly a marvel of construction, with programmed beats anchoring electric guitars, strings, and piano in eight meticulously arranged pieces.
Though the dramatic opener “Astralagus” sets the album’s panoramic tone when a sparkling array of chiming guitar patterns segues into an epic storm of guitars, strings, and drums, the song’s attack plays like some trial run for the album’s stunner, “Hope…,” which unleashes a level of six-string ferocity that’s as beautiful as it is crushing. After dialing the intensity down for a lyrical episode of plaintive melancholy, the tension builds until it’s released in a second wave of almost unbelievable force. When Kontakte lets the storm subside during the melancholic “Early Evening Bleeds Into Night” and graceful waltz “A Snowflake in Her Hand,” it also expands on its core sound by dressing up the tracks with violins (courtesy of Brigid McCafferty) and glockenspiels. Apparently Eluvium and Tim Hecker were two of a number of influences that inspired the band during the recording process, and one occasionally hears traces of Eluvium’s melodic fingerprint emerging during the fifty-seven-minute album, and an occasional grainy texture bears out the Hecker influence too. Balmorhea might just as easily have been name-checked also, given how close in spirit the penultimate track, “Every Passing Hour,” is to the Western Vinyl outfit; even so, there’s no resisting the piece when it exudes the pastoral grace of an Appalachian hymn. Given the restrained character of the album’s middle tracks, it doesn’t come as a major surprise when the ten-minute closer “The Ocean Between You and Me” undertakes a slow ascent to what one expects will be an incendiary climax, but there’s also no denying how amazing the moment is when it finally arrives in all its full-blown splendour. Long may the band ride its transcendent wave.
First review is in for the new album by Kontakte.
We all know that labelling music hinders as much as it helps: although the practice of pigeon-holing orientates it also gives opportunity to dismiss mostly due to the perpetually shifting status of ‘fashionable’ genres. If you disagree, simply visit your local hipster bar (metropolitan areas only), pronounce that you are “really digging chillwave”, and observe as the beards and boat-shoes turn to mock your anachronistic credentials (a number of options are then open to you, but we cannot be seen to condone violence here).
One tag that would no doubt have the humourless beards cruelly smirking into their mojitos is post-rock (I recently witnessed a tweeter stating that self-identifying as post-rock is the equivalent of admitting to Nazi tendencies). And despite the fact that none of press blurb that comes with Kontakte’s We Move Through Negative Spaces mentions this apparently contemptible tag, the chances are the stupid will ignore what is a lovingly composed and emotionally complex set of soundtracks as soon as said label is mentioned.
We Move Through Negative Spaces is an album that begs a vista to stare out on as you listen, one preferably shimmering in frost and piercing light. Yet even the most drab, grinding and visually confined of days can be transformed by the guitars (both delicately picked and fortified as a gleaming wall of fuzz), the rhythms (electronically glitched and sharpened to IDM shapes) and the peaks and troughs of cinematic mood. Occasionally you get a sense that there is nothing desperately new here and that it illustrates a genre that has given all it can, but if you can jettison such ridiculous hang-ups you realise again that beautiful music like this is something to value in and of itself irrespective of what others tell you is trending.