When a producer uses the kitchen sink properly
Italian producer and sound sculptor K-Conjog’s latest album is a montage of loops, sounds, electronic weirdness and cinematic alternative dance floor anthems. ‘Magic Spooky Ears’ is a great name for the album is it really does encapsulate many of the albums facets that make it sound so good and so unique.
‘What Begin Began’ kicks off the album with an indie pop beat that adds in plenty of weird and wonderful arpeggiators and thick buzzing bass synths that merge together to create a thrusting groove. Where K-Conjog mixes it up is that he then starts filtering in acoustic instruments too. Acoustic guitar, flutes and vocal snaps drop in to add fluidity to the rolling beats and the influences are from around the globe. This penchant for mashing up all kinds of things is what marks ‘Magic Spooky Ears’ out as an album. ‘Kingpink’ is more electronic with hints of trance and chiptune music shining through, whereas ‘Same Old Grace’ flips between epic chants, synth brass and celestial computer bleeps and soft echoing piano segments. It feels like a technological hymn. ‘Millenials Otters’, aside from being an amazing track name, reminds me so much of Bibio with plenty of pitch bending, simple rhythms and melodies but constantly changing every 8 bars to add or take something away. ‘Love walks on unexpected ways’ tackles indie rock, indie pop, industrial percussion, classical undertones and a variety of time signatures all in one track. It should be something that feels all over the place but you ride the waves of euphoric emotion and then the lilting sadness with ease as the listener.
The mash-ups continue to surprise and illuminate your ears in the second half of the album. The soft warping synth pads of ‘Replica’ offer a short solace after all those celebratory explosions and cleanse your ears before the hardcore experimental electronics of ‘Old Enough to Look Young’ smashes through. This track is like an instrumental Son Lux piece. The detuned pangs and shivers of synths are metallic and obtuse, always evoking a sense of spookiness. It’s a great, aggressive piece that tees you up for the 80’s tech-noir darkwave of ‘Monotone’. The track is fully voiced through a vocoder and its grinding beats and heavy rubbery keyboards make the whole thing like Soft Cell and Pet Shop Boys have gone to the most fabulous funeral of the year. ‘Cheeks’ plays with perceived tempo. From the gentle pianos to the quickstep dance segments and the b-movie theremin – as the track gets louder and more complex, the drums switch patterns to speed up and slow down the track. The clever thing is the melody never changes pace – your just dancing twice as fast! The album closes with early Lamb-esque piece ‘Falcon’ with dirty trip-hop percussion loops, epic piano rolls, vocoder keyboard chords and all kinds of wizardry.
It’s not very often that after an album I sit back and think ‘how the hell did all that get crammed in?’ I was genuinely taken aback and surprised at the depth of the production, creativity and the vast array of sounds and instruments on hand. K-Conjog has made a very special album and you need to treat your own magic spooky ears to it now.
Recommended track: What Begin Began
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