Boomkat Product Review:
Berlin's Vaagner imprint reissues KMRU's intimate 2020 self-release 'Drawing Water', adding a 17-minute rework of all three tracks from Abul Mogard.
Berlin-based Kenyan sound artist KMRU let his heart sing a little louder on 'Drawing Water', one of the most unbound, melodic releases he's put into the world. The three tracks are markedly different from his best-known material, eschewing field recordings and lengthy passages of chilly ambience in favor of bubbling sine patterns and off-kilter lullabies. It sounds as if he was inspired by the neo-Kankyo Ongaku of Japanese architect H. Takahashi, but in KMRU's hands the formula takes on a more emotional resonance. With just three short tracks, he creates a mood that's effortlessly playful, but completely tranquil, like an orchestra of tired robots playing tiny toy synthesizers at the side of a lake.
Expectedly, Abul Mogard's response to the material darkens the mood considerably. The formerly anonymous Italian composer brings an immediate solemnity to KMRU's mellow sketches, adding processed piano tones and breathy, low vibrational ambience and letting the original sounds only just poke out from beneath the murk. As the piece progresses into its final third, Mogard obscures his sounds even further, adding layers of distortion and eerie drones that reframe KMRU's music completely. With Mogard at the dials, KMRU's lullabies sound sad, restless and unsettling, like nervous, hungry ghosts.