Boomkat Product Review:
Debut album from KSP, churning up scorched earth between industrial techno sound design, crushed D&B and dark ambient gloom
“It’s the sound of eight years of the acclaimed project reaching its zenith, via releases on leading labels likes Mote-Evolver, WNCL Recordings and Mord, and through regular sets at the likes of Berghain and Tresor.
This bold new record mirrors decay of the physical world and the human form through its jarring sound palette and tense atmospheres. It’s a rebirth of sorts, with the title a reference to shedding skin — as KSP has done with his previous aliases. Combining his roots in jungle and dub (as Raiden and Dot Product) with the diverse textures of the contemporary techno diaspora and his skills as a found sound magpie and foley artist, it makes for a riveting, deeply nuanced listen.
‘Skin Cells’ begins with distorted synth buzzes trading places with haunted, heavily processed
samples and thundering kicks. ‘Sparks’ channels taut jungle breakbeats, pitched down to a more chugging tempo, while menacing D&B screeches buzz through the track. ‘Dust’ teases DMZ style dubstep tension, while ‘Rain’ shows his mastery of sound design and field recording in a stunning ambient interlude. ‘Insomnia’ reaches for glitchy digi dub in the vein of The Bug with some cinematic undertones, leading to the brutalist sonic architecture of ‘Crumbs’ with its crunching breaks and rasping tones.
‘Derelict’ is the album’s most direct nod to his junglist past, the ghosts of hardcore imbued through blasts of chainsaw bass, dissected breaks and haunting pads. ‘Grey Clouds’ bathes you in thick swathes of ethereal pads and plucked, incessant bass before ‘EF5’ delivers a militant glitch-heavy onslaught. ‘An Empty Sky’ closes the album in apocalyptic fashion, with crunching bass pressure juxtaposed with graceful, filmic chord progressions.
The result of all of this is an album that feels at once uniquely London while perfectly contemporary to the Berlin scene, and perhaps a none-more-perfect sonic encapsulation of the continuing reciprocal dialogue between the two cities. Most of all, it’s the sound of a sonic excavator hurtling towards the top of his game, in perfect control of every granule of sound therein.”