Boomkat Product Review:
Best known for distinctive artwork on LPs by Arca, Björk, and FKA Twigs, Jesse Kanda also makes striking music as Doon Kanda, as epitomised in the heartsore arrangements of ‘Labyrinth’, their debut album for Hyperdub.
Preceded by a pair of 12”s that caught attention in 2017-18, ‘Labyrinth’ feels out a more unusual and compelling version of Doon Kanda’s emotionally-wrung and hyper-contemporary sound, investigating a curious, uchronic gooch between modernist R&B/trap, grime and IDM, and vintage traces of classical chamber music and Giallo-esque soundtrack themes that lend the music a more timeless levity.
Like, say, E.M.M.A., John T. Gast or indeed Arca’s fusions of puckered classicism with rude, road level vibes, ‘Labyrinth’ mutates the kind of classical, nEuro melodic motifs of noughts hip hop from Timbaland and Lex Luger, the early drill signatures of Young Chop, and the grimy fancy of Terror Danjah and Ruff Sqwad, into more elaborate, flowing arrangements of icy minimalist rhythm and mellifluous flair with an effortlessly dare-to-be-different attitude.
Like the most enduring electronic music which has always been influenced by the music of US and UK inner cities and Caribbean ghetto styles (the Black Atlantic) - Autechre, Arca, AFX - Doon Kanda effectively brings the jazz and folk and classical aspects back out of those styles’ clipped, looped structures across the baker’s dozen tracks of ‘Labyrinth’. From the poised waltz of ‘Polycephaly’ to its meeting of marching snares and Enya-esque choral percs of ‘Entrance’, the album forms a complete spiral into itself, shaping a subtly singular, mazy world of melancholic beauty and enigmatic, mercurial feelings that encourage the listener to dream along with it, and most importantly fucking *feel* something, rather than the paste-on, prescription-numbed or gurningly ecstatic vibe binaries that pass for expression in so much identikit music out there right now.