Boomkat Product Review:
Arch conceptualist and flash-fwd junglist Kode 9 commits a killer 1st solo LP to Hyperdub with 'Nøthing' following two landmark album collaborations with Stephen Samuel Gordon a.k.a. MC Space Ape, who died in 2014 after a prolonged battle with cancer.
Far as we can tell, 'Nøthing' is essentially a treatise on existentialism in our surreal, cybernetic and near post-human age. As a well travelled DJ, it's possibly about finding himself in the negative relief of identikit, computer-generated hotel geometries and transient international spaces, which is a concept to be explored in more depth alongside simulation artist Lawrence Lek in the touring live A/V installation, 'Nøtel' in 2016.
Thru a series of tracks as prismic chambers revealing a sequence of horrors, illusive truths and hyperstitious realities, the marked leap in sound design lends each cut a diametric definition and animated energy that amount to his most compelling and dynamic long format exploration.
Early grime, dubstep and up-to-the-second footwork are consolidated with library samples and J-pop records in tightly contoured and spatially morphing arrangements, finding the devil in its (mostly) instrumental detail and the haunting presence of The Spaceape within 'Third Ear Transmission', as much as his absence is felt in the stark spaces of 'Vøid' and the nine minute silence of album closer 'Nøthing Lasts Forever'.
Most thrilling, however, is his use of oblique, blackened brass blooms in the likes of opening couplet, 'Zerø Pøint Energy' and 'Nøtel', or the scything, tensile funk of 'Vøid' and 'Hølø' which both boost the styles he's borrowed from into fascinating, elliptical new orbits along with his rerouting of android Gqøm grunts in 'Zerø Wørk', and the fractious flush of mixed emotions which vacillate the final rush between 'Vacuum Packed', thru the OPN-style strobe of 'Casimir Effect' and the palpitating torque of 'Respirator', before closing on the hyper-lean gear shift of '9 Drones' - a sick update of his '9 Samurai' classic.
Consider the levels set for all things FWD in the dark matter of electronic dance music.