Kassem Mosse, 2D


Photo by Dobrovinski

[Kinda Soul Recordings]


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Sure, the headline reads “Kassem Mosse does deep house.” But if you know the mysterious music that Gunnar Wendel records under the Mosse moniker (and, if you’ve found your way to our pages, it’s a safe bet you do), you’ll expect the full story to be a bit more complicated. So while Stephano Boati’s deep house stalwart imprint Kinda Soul gets its props for gritty, introspective chord-push from the likes of Rick Wade, Jus-Ed and Scott Ferguson, there’s little in the cryptic grooves, sliding patterns and shadowy textures of Kassem Mosse’s 2D EP for the label to suggest Wendel is skewing to Kinda Soul’s bread-and-butter.

It’s not that he’s indifferent to that audience. Like his untitled track for Laid last year, this record is liberally sprinkled with classic house signifiers. Of course Wendel’s reach extends beyond the realm of house to touch on techno, IDM, and electro, but what makes the record such a success is its resistance to that kind of connect-the-dots game of citing classic precursors and contemporary trends. I could enumerate likenesses to the Artificial Intelligence series, or the recent sounds of labels like FXHE, Future Times, and Fit, but the comparisons that come more naturally fall outside the usual jargon of dance music; the spectral iridescence of Wendel’s sound design here evokes images of moth wings as readily as retro hardware.

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With a rhythm fashioned from a give-and-take of slurred scrapes and sleazy handclaps, “2D” should satisfy an appetite for narcotic dance floor eeriness, but more so it harks back to a proto-house era when barbed jack and prickly industrial shared crate-space. Bypassing the familiar “dusty analog sheen” tropes, “2D”‘s palette is a fascinating topography of mottled, irregular surfaces. Perhaps the clearest example of that, its keyboard drones feel like veins of igneous matter, both serpentine and coarse. The best case for the aforementioned iridescence, though, has to be “Thalassocalyce.” Sharing its name with a species of tentacled, undersea invertebrate, it’s tempting to think of the track’s swaying synth chords in terms of lapping tides. A darting pattern of amber leads, meanwhile, is an exemplary case of Wendel’s gift for slippery, almost repetitive motifs that lull and unsettle by turns.

With such groggy, elusive tracks as neighbors, “Demo Drums Ripping Demos” comes off a bit more straightforward. Shot through with a wobbling, West Coast-style funk and hissing with spiny, polyps-like snare rolls, its sprays of phosphorescent synthesizer are reminiscent of Sherard Ingram’s more electro-leaning work but, as I say, such comparisons give vague, misleading impressions in Wendel’s case. I’m glad it does; as we edge ever-deeper down cul-de-sacs of dogmatic, overdetermined sub-genres and production biases, it’s nothing but encouraging to see labels across the gamut so eager to scratch out consonance in even Wendel’s most arcane work.

kuri  on February 2, 2011 at 4:29 PM

solid release! there is a diversity in tempo and rhythm structure between each track, but also a consistent feel that they all share. loving those “keyboard drones” both in sound and statement.

caravan  on February 5, 2011 at 5:13 PM

i’m glad this release finally came out! the tracks were on KM’s myspace site for over 1 year or so, with the vinyl release announced since then. for me, this is among his best material he has released so far, on par with his EPs on workshop (new workshop 12 out now).

Sibonelo Zulu  on February 8, 2011 at 6:47 AM

Should check that Workshop 12 out. Looking forward to my order with 2D EP on it……and I really like that untitled B1 (I think) on workshop 8

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