Boomkat Product Review:
Release Spirit by Khotin via Ghostly International.
"Canadian producer Dylan Khotin-Foote has kept his Khotin alias going for the better part of a decade; the impressionistic electronic project shifts with the movements in his life. Sometimes it leads, like when the club-friendly grooves of 2014’s Hello World immersed him in the heart of Vancouver’s underground dance scene, and sometimes it follows, like 2018’s Beautiful You, a downtempo salve for DJ fatigue.
This album's title borrows from the “release spirit” mechanic in the video game World of Warcraft. When players die, they are prompted to release their spirit and return as ghosts to find their corpses and come back to life. Khotin sees it as a worthy metaphor for the impending change his return home presented and the resulting process of purging artistic expectations to find his creative self again. On this go-around, he is freer, more playful, and more intentional within his palette of warped synth, breakbeats, and piano sounds — including the classic Casio SK-1 presets he’s used since the start — mingling with wistful samples, field recordings, and other abstract snippets.
Release Spirit rests in a dream sequence. Oscillating synth lines dance around the heartbeat of “Techno Creep,” a hyperactive REM state before the digitized ambient sprawl of “My Same Size.” In the final pass, Khotin imagines transcontinental travel from the glow of his screen. He recorded “Sound Gathering Trip” to soundtrack a genre of YouTube videos he’s taken to that follows train routes through Europe and Japan. The scene is serene and moving; piano keys warble as static-filled sound design shimmers off the rails, from cityscapes to the countryside, an introspective ride through a world beyond his bedroom. It doubles as an apt parting image for Khotin’s project as a whole: dreaming big but happiest when riffing on the details, shaping environments from the inside out. Over the last decade, he has stretched from his core in Edmonton, leaving a trace in Vancouver and beyond; but when all signs point home, he loops back to see it all from a different vantage, revitalized, refined, and free."