KiNK, Rachel EP

[Ovum Recordings]

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After listening to the track “Existence” from KiNK’s Rachel EP for Ovum Recordings, I found myself slightly appalled. Essentially it’s a rework of “Changes of Life,” a 1992 cut by Jeff Mills, done as a tech-house wind up. Fitted with a new set of filters, delays, and freshly phased drum rolls, “Existence” dices up that signature piano riff to closely resemble its exemplar but remain just different enough to warrant being called its own. But it’s missing the rawness of “Changes,” the distorted 909 kicks, the snare cracks, and those sizzling, sped up vamps that made it so forceful. Mills took hands-in-the-air house chords and soldered them to hard techno beats to create a thrilling techno anthem that defied expectations. And while Mills originally referenced “Strings Of Life,” he harnessed the power of Michael James’ piano line for a purer rhythmic purpose. I don’t have anything against remixing classics per se; I just expect remixers who mess with classics to innovate the original material, which KiNK certainly does not with “Existence.” This isn’t the first time he’s drawn upon the work of old masters; a track like “Blueprint” in particular — a collaboration with Neville Watson — sounds like Chicago acid house by numbers.

How’s the rest of the EP? Not so bad, but then again not wholly original sounding either. The bleep melody that begins “E79” sounds dangerously close to a Dan Bell or Chicago jack track, but after its percussion builds up steam it takes a dive for deeper terrain and lands in moody organ chords laced with a nice acid line. “Rachel” ends up the most credible of the three tracks, using well-patterned 909 percussion and thick 303 bass to move between introspective melodic passages and a more club-focused mode with the addition of strings. KiNK has nailed some solid acidic grooves with Neville Watson and on his own, but his tendency to rely on tried and true dance floor gimmicks is something of a liability. On the Rachel EP, this gets the best of him, a fact no “any resemblances to real records is purely coincidental” warning could paper over.

cz  on April 27, 2010 at 8:53 PM

excellent review, was wondering when you were going to post it. i still haven’t gotten around to picking this up. i don’t think i will any time soon either. you articulated really well the exact problem with these cuts when you said “[KiNK’s] tendency to rely on tried and true dance floor gimmicks is something of a liability”. indeed!

kuri  on April 29, 2010 at 10:01 AM

thanks. i’m frankly surprised that not more people have noticed this uncanny resemblance and reputable sites are just using the canned description when posting for sale.

harpomarx42  on April 29, 2010 at 9:35 PM

I feel like I’m going to hear existence played out quite a lot this summertime.

a  on October 5, 2010 at 5:52 AM

It kills the dancefloor. its not meant to be analyzed by nerds, rather its meant to be felt by asses.

littlewhiteearbuds  on October 5, 2010 at 9:33 AM

All listening is a form of evaluation, some of which is put into the written word. If you’re not into that just stream the samples.

KP  on November 15, 2010 at 3:28 PM

I appreciate the wealth of knowledge and musical history you share in your review of this EP. But I am less critical of his use of tried and tested techniques. I myself have only been in the scene for around 5 years so it is wonderful for me to hear tracks like E79. Its a way for the new generation to get turned on to the old classics. Now i’m going to check out the tracks you referenced and discover them for the first time. Music always goes in cycles and just because someone has done it before doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done again. Creativity and originality are always welcomed but music shouldn’t be restricted to only being completely ‘new.’ Good music is good music, period.

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