Boomkat Product Review:
Robin Buckley a.k.a. rkss reasembles mainstream EDM sample packs on the killer, unconventional ‘DJ Tools’ - the long awaited first album on Lee Gamble’s UIQ label following 12" releases from Lanark Artefax, Renick Bell, Sim Hutchins, Zuli and others. If you're into anything from Florian Hecker to Rian Treanor, Evol, Errorsmith, Theo Burt or Lorenzo Senni - this one’s a doozy!
Manipulating off-the-shelf sounds from ‘EDM Kicks Vol.1’ through various processing techniques, rkss explores the politics and aesthetics of club culture, technology and queerness by radically altering these preconceived, “purpose-built” blocks of sound from their original use, and rendering them in a spectrum of non-standard, ambiguous designs that both highlight, abstract, and reimagine the samples’ social function.
The result is nine hyper-colourful, unpredictable and uniquely engaging tracks that metaphorically connote queer dynamics, employing the user-oblivious potential of computer software to shape a form of dance music that insightfully reflects and celebrates rkss’ difference within the flux of today’s social spaces. In other words it’s a music very much of, and for, its times, crucially in step with current redefinitions of musical boundaries and identity politics.
In Robin's own words:
“DJ Tools was recorded at a turning point for me as an artist & person as I came into the aesthetic and social limitations I was finding in contemporary dance culture. I started to change how I thought about myself as an artist in terms of changing the way I created music, instead of writing the music at home and later arranging it for the club, I started writing music for live performance first. I wanted to be able to arrange these pieces/excerpts / sketches live. I was beginning to re-arrange how I thought about my gender / self and placing, exploring and finding the language to point to my sense of difference as a rans person. DJ Tools was where I began to formulate my own relationship to club culture as a mostly sober, transgender person, what version of club music did I want to engage with in that social space? Fluid, dynamic and reacting to audience. Highlighting the social. Sharing & connecting through my difference rather than erasing it.”