El Kid - Labyrinths

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  • El Kid first emerged as part of Bristol's new school of house innovators but—as with the other members of the Young Echo crew—his story is far more complex than that. Launching off from elegiac house music ("Le Corbusier" on Immerse), Sam Kidel has since explored frail, piano-led ambience (VeElSkSiEdL, a split cassette with compadre Vessel), occluded minimalism (String Loops under his own name) and off-kilter techno and house hybrids (the Hypnosis EP for Left_Blank). It's the latter that our man chooses to explore further with Labyrinth, a four-track EP for the Young Echo-affiliated No Corner label. The results are esoteric—but fascinatingly so. The title track sets the tone, opening with a dizzying swill of digital artifacts through which a loping techno rhythm gradually asserts itself. What follows is a glitch-riddled collage of computerised bleeps, agitated drones and clipped pads snarled up in dissonant clusters; a hyper-detailed superimposition of abstract computer music onto a techno framework. Riffing on the theme, "Mercury" opens with stabs of noise that sound as if funneled through the spring reverbs of the Radiophonic Workshop. The beat, when it enters, is pockmarked with scrabbling atonal squeals and bleeps, micro-detailed textures that make for luxurious listening. On the B-side, "Quixote" is the most desiccated of the lot, its unforgiving metallic textures ringing out over a chunky kick drum/hi-hat pattern while odd parched effects spin near arrhythmically off its surface. "We Need Mirrors" is the EP's dark heart: a funereal slow-burner that shares something of the charcoal-black atmospheres of Raime, though the pulse, brisk and neatly swung, remains the motor.
  • Tracklist
      A Mercury B1 Quixote B2 We Need Mirrors