Saturday, September 15, 2012

Al Kemet by Ketsa

Al Kemet cover art

This 14-track album is full of little melodic gems. The compositions are quite varied in terms of rhythm (from delicate to heavy beats) and style (there are elements of flamenco, reggae, jungle, drum and bass, glitch, dubstep, and more in there).

This album is not the usual release, it really takes you places. All 14 tracks are well crafted and offer something of value to the listener.

I would like to focus on a few tracks that I think are the most representative of the album:

- "Solution", the title track, has a definitive Far Eastern influence. It also features a distorted slowed down voice that seems to come from far above ... or below. The melody is well crafted and it really hooks you.

- "Separation" is a piano piece where a strong jazz influence can be felt in the percussion patterns. It also features strings and flamenco style taps. The melody is here stripped to the bare minimum as the melodic motif is repeated all through the track.

- "Comixition" is rhythm driven with a melodic motif that's played legato style with no discernible breaks.

- "Purification" is a quieter piano piece with no percussion but with very soothing vocal stabs (like an incantation). This is to me the track that would appeal to the largest audience (the first single if you will).

- "Fermentation" is my favorite piece. The main melodic line is simply clever and well complemented by the jazzy percussion and the secondary melodies on the organ. A brilliant piece indeed.

- "Fixation" has a strong piano content with a great melodic line on the upper register and bass work on the lower octaves.

Note that the first part of the album (the first 7 tracks) is much more chaotic (in a downtempo sense) than the second part which is more delicate, well, except for the last track, which is a mix of reggae and dubstep (at least, its signature wobbly bass).

If you like strong melodies embedded in crafty downtempo tracks, this is an album to listen to over and over. You won't be disappointed.

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