Lando Kal, Maneuver

Artwork by Atelier Olschinsky

[Rush Hour Direct Current]

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With dubstep, the conversation always begins in the UK, and no matter how far afield you take it — Brooklyn, Poland, Japan, even Arkansas or Iowa or wherever else Skrillex is playing eight shows in a row tonight — it inevitably ends up back there. But it’s not like these so-called provincial scenes lack any of the passion or innovativeness of their spiritual homeland. San Francisco, where South London’s signature low-end co-mingles with the Bay’s fluorescent hip-hop, has certainly produced some of the genre’s most distinctive sounds, with producers like Salva, DJG, and Lazer Sword pushing a vibe all their own. Antaeus Roy, one half of the latter who now resides in Berlin, produces solo as Lando Kal (which, it must be said, is one of the great aliases of our or any time); and with releases on Numbers and Hotflush, he’s established a name for himself in his own right. Since his Numbers split, wherein Lando Kal got an entire career’s worth of squelching and side-chaining out of his system in one side of wax, he’s simmered down considerably, coming off as the less doe-eyed big brother of Sepalcure’s lovestep: where his pals in Brooklyn heat their arrangements up until everything melts together, Lando Kal can be as chilly as one of his hometown’s martinis, though you’re similarly flushed the moment you get a little inside you.

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On “Maneuver,” his inevitable inclusion in Rush Hour’s Direct Current series, Lando Kal continues to come into his own, ramping up the energy from his Hotflush release while sounding dapper as ever. Kicking off with desert-dry cymbals and syncopated, business-minded kick, “Maneuver” feels more Hotflush than any Hotflush has felt in quite some time. Once those diamond-cut synths cut through the initial tension, though, the producer’s Bay Area provenance shines through, both in its energy and general aesthetic. As with Direct Current’s other releases, the A-side genuinely aims at being a house track, despite jumping through the hoops of bass music to get there. On the flip, “Run It” would have sounded at home on Frite Nite’s recent Surreal Estate compilation, all irregular rhythms and energetically intricate synth design. It’s not necessarily Lando Kal’s nor Direct Current’s freshest work (his Hotflush release and BNJMN’s Black Square foot those bills, respectively), but it’s difficult to deny the craft that went into these tracks (a craft that’s certainly improved since his last outing). Not to mention that they’re carrying the banner of dubstep at least as well as anything directly UK-related has in awhile. I sense Lando Kal is a name we’re not through hearing.

Joseph Hallam  on November 4, 2011 at 6:02 PM

Gotta love that Robin S sample.

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