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Sublunar is the first full-length release from Kane Ikin who is also known as one half of the duo Solo Andata. Sublunar follows Kane’s solo debut Contrail (7”, 12k2022) picking up where that EP left off and pushing the boundaries outward in every direction into denser, deeper, wetter and more decayed terrain.
The word “sublunar” can be read to contain many conceptual layers important to the album. It is music about moonlight, darkness, the faintest hint of light and shadow.... Moons locked in orbit, repetition, gravity, weight, pressure... Subconscious, subliminal, distant, deteriorated signals, like radio waves lost in a noisy haze of transmission... and about dust, noise and oversaturation.
Kane conveys all of these ideas with little thought for technique, instead putting all of his energy into, as he puts it, “Quality of the sound, over quality of the sound.” His disregard for any “proper” recording techniques leaves Sublunar with waves tape hiss, buried details and sounds warped beyond recognition. Unlike other work Kane is known for there is a strong sense of rhythm on this album. Mechanical, yet natural, beats pulse in and out of time, washed away and then restructured by pulling the tail end of tape echoes forward into the mix emphasizing their warm, analogue flaws and giving the album a semi-structured feel, like the backbone of a long-dead creature buried in the earth.
Sublunar is Kane running free in his studio and, quite characteristically, utilizing nearly everything he can touch as an instrument; from grimey 78’s, uncovered from his grandfather’s shed, to early drum machines and analogue synthesizers, reel-to-reel recorders and anything within arm’s reach that can be hit, plucked, or bowed. Kane has a wonderful talent of turning his immediate world into a soundtrack for existance that speaks on a near-primal level.- www.12k.com/
As one half of Solo Andata, Kane Ikin builds albums of dark, organic textures that are so tangible you can practically feel the dirt beneath your feet and the shadows hovering just overhead. There are elements of that sublime sound in Sublunar, his first solo full-length, but the manner in which Ikin avoids the familiar in favor of bold and adventurous sonics proves to be intensely compelling. Ikin reinvents the Solo Andata template in a few vital ways: by scattering its material across 16 tracks and providing a rhythmic undercurrent, Sublunar's pace and structure illuminates Ikin's woozy atmospherics, scuffed melodies, and tape-saturated drones in the best way possible. The approach is seemingly minimal, but there's a wealth of material to survey on Sublunar and it ultimately coalesces into a weird and vibrant form of radiophonic post-rock. Perhaps an odd genre hybrid, but it works to hypnotic effect on "Sublunar." – Ryan Potts
While conducting experiments to measure extrasolar radio waves in the 1960s, Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson became increasingly discouraged by an interminable fuzz that blotted their recordings. Their frustration lasted until the Spring of 1964, when the inquisitive pair contacted Robert H. Dicke and his research team at Princeton University, who were quickly able to provide an explanation as to where the hiss was coming from. The problem, it transpired, was a remarkable one: Penzias and Wilson had accidentally discovered the edge of the universe.
That cosmological brink, the very boundary of metagalactic space, was conveyed through spectral density as “noise temperature” — frayed particles of radiation left dancing and flailing from subatomic rapid expansion. These minuscule flecks of space dust are symbolic in the forms that resonate on Sublunar, animated and relentless in their conforming to audio fragments, traces of which are replicated and spread generously across the duration of Kane Ikin’s debut betwixt choral spirals, cast metal chimes, and disintegrating spectographic keys.
Interests in environmental field recordings and atmospherics were abundant on Contrail, which saw this Melbourne-based artist taking his first steps as a solo musician. His tendency to experiment with reel-to-reel tape recordings and abrading drone sequences are expanded upon throughout Sublunar, which pulsates angular and refined prisms of sound, coiling and humming to the pace of their own decay. Like Penzias and Wilson, Ikin is investigating curious crepitations and is on the verge of something celestial.
The apparent mood is brooding and somber from the outset, where “Europa” festoons alto chorus with disfigured, distant house beats over layers of crumbling static. It is a crisp and welcoming initiation to the album, which introduces an obsidian palette that remains consistent but confined throughout. With appellations considered, such dispositions pose regrettable insignificance as opposed to desolate melancholia, an awareness of uncontrollable tumbling in Heliocentric orbit, but the aesthetic focus refrains from motifs that engulf or dominate: an enthusiasm for the microscopic and the miniature is channeled through Sublunar while simultaneously contemplating the gargantuan and the monumental.
Analog consoles and phonographic surface patterns lie at the core of this intricate, isolated body of work. Ikin amplifies his infatuation with warped vinyl spirals and polyrhythmophonic drum machine arrangements, whose presence here remains subtle yet distinctive. Rhythms are carved through seeping waves, loops, and scratches that blend and marinate in tubular peal and the tintinnabulation of ancient jewelry boxes. These humble and inviting combinations are well crafted, but somewhat lacking in the heightened ambition and grandeur alluded to in their titles.
Absence of control and themes of distance are frequently returned to, not only in the earthly wind chime chance of “Oberon,” but also in both the patient rustling on “Sleep Spindle” and the bellowing haunted bass of “Hyperion.” The compiled consequence of these models, drenched in impulse response, is one of great beauty, but with a hesitance to explore murkier depths. As Penzias and Wilson were disenchanted by their perplexing hiss, Ikin delicately wraps his music up in it, beholding the crevasse of infinite possibility. - Birkut
Kane Ikin, Contrail
Contrail marks Kane’s debut solo release outside of Solo Andata and while the same sense of dark, warm space is present he returns to his roots and focuses more on shoegaze guitar experimentations, lo-fi sample manipulations and warped field recordings. He recorded everything through and onto old technology — aged analog consoles, reel-to-reel tape — and all heard through a hazy science fiction filter.
Steering away from the computer as a one-stop production tool, Kane’s recording process and mindset behind these songs makes for soft and lush sound. Pillow tones hover quietly over guitar plucks and warmly-distorted drones. “Sailing” finds a gentle, broken rhythm, made from found percussion looping underneath a bed of strummed acoustic and walls of inharmonic ambient texture while the title track bathes the listener in sleepy chords and touchable, organic field recordings.
Contrail comes packaged as a limited edition 7” pressed onto clear vinyl and includes a download card for the two vinyl tracks as well as two additional songs, thus creating a 4-song EP. The jacket is a heavy-wei. - www.12k.com/
Small but perfectly formed offering from Melbourne artist Kane Ikin, one half of Solo Andata. For his solo work, Ikin aims at a gentler, more organic space, recording field recordings, synth drones, acoustic strums through analogue consoles and onto reel-to-reel tape for that extra warmth. It makes for a delightful listening experience, transporting but homely, and perfectly timed for chilly winter days and nights; amniotic ambient beautifully accented with plucked strings and found percussion sounds. - boomkat
God love a good EP. Like an episode of Game of Thrones, a solid miniature platter of sound can both satiate and leave room for some sweet anticipatory ache. Similarly, the best ones are always contained, providing a larger picture of an artist while standing on its own as a rewarding experience.
Warehouses is one of these experiences. Kane Ikin’s latest EP is one of the most satisfying, promise-brimmed missives of the year so far, hanging tough with the likes of Rainer Veil, Container, and Dean Blunt. It starts out not too disimilarly from Ikin’s previous, mostly beatless ambient work, before ushering in a ghostly, anemic funk groove, snaking its way through debris-strewn alleyways. A pulsing beat pattern gradually emerges, flanked by a whirring cacophony that gradually dissipates to reveal a post-apocalyptic (I know, I know — I’m sick of it too. But if the shoe fits…) saunter as bracingly chromey cool as anything on Portishead’s last album. Before you know it, a dead-end is reached, steps seem untraceable, and whatever is hovering above your head you dare not look at.
Things don’t get any less interesting from the title track on, perhaps just a little more short-lived. “BNR” sports a fetching echosome, scuttled skip beat with some chilly dulcet tones shooting a curt, steady glance into the narrowing horizon. There’s something almost throwback-like about the accessibility of this track. It’s like a lost choice Odd Nosdam beat, miraculously rescued from the nasaly sing-song chatterings of WHY? and Doseone. Perhaps this user-friendliness is why the last entry is so surprising. As a parting glance, “April” rides a bed of pitch-bent, self-destruct-countdown synths and tribal beats that shatter the relatively staid subterranean crawls of the preceding songs. We are left with panic, when it seemed we were on our way to some sort of numbly swaddling bunker.
Warehouses isn’t a particularly filled-out EP, though it is a solid 20 minutes long. Much like all This Thing releases, this sexy-ass tape is an intriguing artifact all its own. And thanks to the slick video for the title track, one can immerse themselves in that curious basketball torture chamber sculpture gracing the cover art. Can’t wait to see what this guy does next (and please don’t tell me it’s a cLOUDDEAD comeback album or I’ll have to eat this here shoe)! - Willcoma
Solo Andata, Solo Andata
It could be said that Solo Andata is carefully sequenced to a narrative structure: beginning on boat in the cold, arctic night of “Ablation,” and then ending on foot in the hot wilderness of “Woods, Flesh, Bone.” However, concepts and narratives that seem clear to the artists are often left oblique to the listeners. This is perhaps why Solo Andata represented this narrative in a strict sense by recording what the titles literally refer to. For example, “Woods Flesh, Bone” presents us with sweltering woodlands, the sound of a fresh carcass being torn apart and the clattering of bones. The same can be said of “Hydraulic Fluctuations,” “Canal Rocks,” “Ablation” and “In the Light Storming.” These organic sources, then, help tie music and concept together.
Solo Andata utilizes very little, if any, electronic instruments. Acoustic guitar, piano, cello and the natural resonances of organic materials (usually by way of a violin bow, pluck, or home-made contraption) become their main instruments, and as their live shows often attest to, Solo Andata can turn almost any object into an instrument capable of producing beautiful, other-worldly music.
Solo Andata is being released simultaneously with Look For Me Here (12k2014), a limited edition CD-Single that contains the album mix of “Look For Me Here” as well as remixes from legendary Japanese musician Ryuichi Sakamoto and 12k’s visionary Giuseppe Ielasi.
Solo Andata was created between Perth, Western Australia, Melbourne, Victoria and New York City.
Mixed by Taylor Deupree.
Mastered by Giuseppe Ielasi.- www.12k.com/
While many artists use the sonic medium as a canvas to paint imaginary journeys conceptually through sound and instrumentation, this Australian duo takes the concept to a more literal point by utilizing recordings of actual events and elements referenced in the track titles in addition to traditional instrumentation. The result is a wonderfully dark, post-rock tinged trip that shows the 12k label is at the cusp of more than just laptop programming and art installation sounds.
The opening "Ablation" uses the actual sounds of ice and wind to create a murky atmosphere that sounds like rattling engines and running water, never clearly identifiable at first, but familiar and organic. Later in the track some untreated cello and piano arise, starkly contrasting the "known" instruments with the "unknown" ambience. "Hydraulic Fluctuations" (based on fluid fluctuations recorded inside a large pump) has some more overt filtered water noises, but also a clattering percussive part that sounds like rocks rattling together, along with some deep, rich stringed instrument tones. The mix is thick and dense, and far from the minimalism one might expect.
"Canal Rocks" features a field recording of wind through a small rocky alcove in Australia, which is contrasted with a gentle, hovering melody. As the track goes on, the lighter moments are supplanted by the deeper, dense textures. "Beyond This Window" opens with shimmering feedback like tones and understated strings that focus more on the musical rather than environmental end of the sound spectrum, though the calming rush of a rainstorm keeps things rooted in nature.
The low end rumbles and echoed reverberations "In The Light Storming" uses obviously resemble a violent storm, the sound creeping into textures that have a vaguely early industrial vibe to them. However, the sound is never oppressively dark or violent, and instead the sun shines through at the end to reveal bits of pure, untouched ambience. "Look For Me Here" (also available as a CD single with remixes by Ryuichi Sakamoto and Giuseppe Ielasi) is the closest thing to being overt "post-rock" with its distant pings and pulses, rattling fuzz and swells of orchestral like tones. Glistening chimes and hammered guitar notes sit above of filtered noise that nicely compliments the more traditionally beautiful moments.
The final two tracks of this journey are much more dark and sinister than the rest. "Loom" is an appropriate title for a piece of humming ominous strings and dark, growling like textures. Cello, guitar and other strings provide a more familiar reference point to the otherwise murky mire, but even they alternate between a melancholy drone and a violent, panicked pace. The long closer, "Woods Flesh Bone," is another literally titled track. Consisting of field recordings that can only be described as "wet," the sound is amplified by flies buzzing all around (based on field recordings of a chicken carcass), and an eerie calm, punctuated by birds far away. The sound of dark isolation grows worse as the synthetic elements become more pronounced as the track winds down, leading to a dark, bleak foreboding sound that is one of the best examples of how to aurally represent decay. Rather than the journey ending happily, it instead finishes on a bleak, sinister note.
Each piece functions on its own as a microcosm of organic sound although all are thematically linked, expertly mixing untouched field recordings, treated sounds, and traditional instrumentation into a work that sounds decidedly natural, yet completely mysterious. It is the kind of album that begs to be replayed not just because of its inherent strength, but also because of its variation and complexity.- Brainwashed
Having previously cropped up on the label as one of three acts on 12k's Live In Melbourne album, Australian duo Solo Andata release their second album proper (a follow up to 2006's Fyris Swan, on Hefty) with this absorbing set of compositions, all mixed by Taylor Deupree, with mastering duties undertaken by another 12k stalwart, Giuseppe Ielasi. From the first few moments of its sonically rich opener, 'Ablation', this is an ambient album that's full of nuance and character. Surprisingly, there's actually very little in the way of an electronic presence here, and most of the finer details come from organic sources, whether they be acoustic instruments (both traditional and homemade) or a range of location recordings, encompassing such subjects as the dark-drone chug of a boat's engine to the close-up, environmental clatter of a forest. This is a wonderfully well-produced record (as you'd expect from the roster of talents involved), but it goes beyond the expected domain of textural and analytical microsound-type composition, expanding its focus to include Richard Skelton-esque untamed string passages and Chris Watson-influenced nature portraits. Wonderful stuff. - boomkat