Lawrence, Kurama

[Pampa Records]

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His music has never been particularly busy, but recently, it seems as if Peter Kersten is increasingly intent on stripping his creations to the barest of necessities. Sorry Sun — his first record this year — was somewhat portentous of this direction. Two of the three cuts measured the impact of spare, rippling piano motifs, while the title track rested on little more than the patient fingering of singular glassy notes. Since then, however, he’s also presented Above the Sky and Never As Always, neither of which are notable for their sparseness. In truth, then, this change of course can be best observed in his most recent track on Dial — “The Swan” — and the two on offer in Kurama, his debut for DJ Koze’s Pampa imprint.

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Like “The Swan,” the lengthy excursions on Kurama are faintly melancholic but beautifully so. Just over 10 minutes long, the title track opens with a panning bass sequence, bouncing left and right twice per bar, lending a sense of rhythm despite the complete lack of syncopation. Kersten fast remedies this, introducing two powdery shuffling sounds, both hovering on the border between shaker and hi-hat. From here, it’s mainly a matter of subtraction and addition, with a heavenly clarion arching high overhead to forge the aforementioned mood alone. It’s a similar kind of sound to that found in “The Swan,” but here Kersten supplements it with brief touches of heavily modified, slow-rising piano. At least that’s what it sounds like; some of the resonance seems to have been stripped away and the pluck element amplified to a bright fizz. “Oolong High” drops the ping-ponging low end for a lurching motion. There’s a lot more percussion this time, too: crisp claps, a raggedy line of hand drums and dominant hat create a far more impelling rhythm. In spite of these bold elements it still feels quite pared-down, perhaps because, ignoring some other slight melodic splashes, it’s again a soaring, ethereal tone that commands the track’s shimmering atmosphere. For some, this may mean both sides feel too similar. But even acknowledging this point, Kersten’s continued ability to wring fresh ideas from his palette of elegant house sounds is remarkable.

colourandsound  on November 30, 2011 at 8:51 AM

quality, as always

PeteBlas  on December 22, 2011 at 9:17 PM

Lawrence can go real deep with his subtle!! Strong!!

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