Kontext, Plumes/Blinkende Stjerne

[Immerse Records]

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There is a temptation to lump in Stanislav Sevostyanikhin, better known as Kontext, with experimental Bristol dubstep producers because of the spacious, grimy soundscapes his records on Immerse contain. Something very different, however, is going on in the music of this St. Petersburg native. You would need to reference everyone from Aphex Twin, Monolake and Surgeon to what’s currently coming out on 7even Records to describe everything going on in his tunes. Suffice it to say that, despite some weaknesses, Kontext’s free-flowing mix of techno, glitch, and dubstep conventions cherry-pick much of what’s righteous in each style.

For Immerse 009, Kontext has, somewhat churlishly, divided the goods onto two discs. For the sake of convenience and out of mindfulness for LWE readers’ wallets, this review will focus on “Plumes/Blinkende Stjerne,” the slightly stronger of the two 12’s. “Plumes” starts with a few dubby chords and progresses smoothly enough in accessible 4/4 style. Things get itchier and glitchier across the space of seven minutes, with apparently forgotten about grooves entering the fray and then leaving it again. “Plumes” is a mellifluous stew that should be too messy to keep you nodding along happily to its maximally stoned vibes. But you definitely do.

Whereas the first thought on hearing “Plumes” is dub techno, “Blinkende Stjerne” immediately calls to mind the far left-field reaches of jungle. Three minutes of hop-scotching breakbeat, cloudy bass and peaceful melodies pave the way for a sudden injection of brash, metallic techno flavor. Suddenly we’ve gone from castles in the sky to a fabulously dingy basement. This sort of transition is definitely reminiscent of an older, less genre-prescribed form of dance music that was less afraid to change its spots. That’s something that you can love or hate in its general form, but here it works sublimely. Unsurprisingly, for a man working in a sub-genre all his own, these tracks feel like they could be refined a little more, perhaps smoothed over, or made a little more cohesive in order to make their emotional appeal a tiny bit clearer. What seems certain, however, is that Kontext has one of the most effective stylistic melting pots around at the moment. I’ll be waiting with baited breath to see what comes out of it in 2009.

ballyhoo  on February 25, 2009 at 9:56 PM

“Unsurprisingly, for a man working in a sub-genre all his own”

i wouldn’t say that… there’s been a healthy, if somewhat incestuous, community of people making this type of music for a while. if you compare this track to most stuff on raster-noton, ~scape, mego, asphodel, mille plateaux, 12k, plus many others labels, it doesn’t sound particularly new or original. that said, it’s always nice to see this kinda stuff getting reviewed.

Richard Carnage  on February 26, 2009 at 10:28 AM

The Ramadanman mix of “Plumes” on the most recent Immerse 12″ is also well worth a sniff.

colin s  on March 2, 2009 at 11:33 PM

@ ballyhoo:

you’re very much right that he’s not the only one doing this sort of thing. Still, Kontext is definitely the only one I’ve heard quite this combination from. For instance Raster-Noton is, to my ear, more glitch/free experimental. ~scape and mille plateaux: also similar, but not the same.

mego and 12k I don’t know. huge thanks for the tip.

(Richard your knowledge is dubsided to the next level as usual.)


Little White Earbuds » Little White Earbuds February Charts  on March 29, 2009 at 8:35 PM

[…] (Quarion remix) [Perspectiv] (buy) 08. Klockworks, “Grab Me” [Klockworks] (buy) 09. Kontext, “Blinkende Stjerne” [Immerse Records] (buy) 10. 2562, “Embrace” [3024] […]

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