Boomkat Product Review:
After dropping our AOTY in 2018, extraordinary percussionist/producer Eli Keszler distills his feelings on Manhattan under lockdown in a killer new suite of noirish NYC jazz rent with electro-acoustic magick - RIYL 0PN, Kenji Kawai, Elodie, Rashad Becker, Aphex x Squarepusher
One of experimental music’s most dynamic figures of recent years, Keszler’s bevy of solo sides and collaborations with everyone from Skrillex, 0PN and Laurel Halo to Jandek and John Butcher have placed him at a captivating crossroads of electronic, soundtrack music, new jazz, and the avant garde. His first album in 3 years, ‘Icons’ is his most broadly appealing and subtly gradated, with a level of emotive nuance, diffracted pacing and vaulted spatialization that beautifully comes to reflect the slow/quick/slow flux of the city during lockdown. OK, ye ye we don’t need to hear anymore about lockdown, but we’ve gotta admit this is one of the coolest, collected musical thoughts on the subject that’s emerged over the whole blasted period, absorbingly transmuting and relating a classically inner city, avant jazz blues ambiance for a new generation in a way that really hits home.
During the past 18 months the usually itinerant artist and performer found himself staying in one place for the first time in a decade, and the sense of tension between stasis and an urge to travel is at the core of ‘Icons’ Replacing international dates with bike trips around Manhattan island, Keszler draws on the experience of carving around the city’s empty streets, as well as those moments when it erupted into activity with protests and ambulances, effectively oscillating across lanes, up the side of buildings, and even thru them, to present a gyring-eye’s view of Manhattan’s unstable reality. From the dawning clangour of ‘All The Mornings in the World’ to the album’s elegiac closure ‘We sang a dirge, and you did not mourn’ expect a completely absorbing day-in-the-life experience as Keszler cycles thru freewheeling gear changes and plays of light dancing between its sound architecture and vertiginous proprioceptions.