- Though dank atmospheres and dusty analogue equipment have always been central to his sound, Conforce has never been one to settle down. Escapism marked a significant development from his 2010 debut album, Machine Conspiracy, leaving behind the prominent synth lines and going to a darker place while staying club-focused. Since then, his side projects as Silent Harbour and Versalife have explored ambience and hard-edged electro respectively. Kinetic Image sees him producing as Conforce once again, but the music is closer to that of his other aliases, focusing more than ever on atmospherics.
In that respect, all of the tracks on Kinetic Image are very much cut from the same cloth. They're bathed in static, reverb and smoothly shifting pads, and layered over a backbone of syncopated micro-rhythms. Each track develops as a long wash, without distinct sections. Although these rhythms are more complex than anything he's done before, they don't grab the listener as easily.
Look more closely, though, and you'll find a surprising amount of detail differentiating each track. Each creates a subtly different mood: "Excess Mortality" is claustrophobic, whereas "Anti-adaptive Stance" is agoraphobic. Conforce does this by varying how loose or tight the rhythms are, or by making some frequency ranges dense and others spaced out. On "Spatiotemporal," the midrange sounds meticulously programmed. Then there are tracks like "Scientific Trajectory," which are made up more of high-range clicks and delay. There's a powerful sense that the emotion has been somehow sucked out of them.
In the last few tracks, some melodies start to glow through. "Abundance Of Selves," one of the album's highlights, takes a desolate hook, a lolloping bass and soft chord pulses, and sets them bouncing around the stereo field in opposition to each other, just barely eking out a faint harmonic progression. Until then, the album doesn't have a strong sense of development, partly because every track ends with a simple fade-out, making the next one feel like a new start. But this warmth serves as a coda to the album, making you feel like you've arrived back at home.
Kinetic Image is filled with nuances, but most of them aren't really arresting. This is the kind of music that works best in the background, that jumps out at you when you're not focusing on it. Though it lacks some immediate impact, it has depths that are both intriguing and subtle.
01. Excess Mortality
03. Temporary Reversals
04. Semantic Field
05. Scientific Trajectory
06. Underwater Settlers
07. Formerly Programmed Decisions
08. Abundance Of Selves
09. Optimum Pace
10. Anti-adaptive State