- The opening of "Clarion Call" is a perfect analog for Inigo Kennedy's latest Token record: a minute-long whorl of luminous synth layers disappears into thin air, replaced in seconds by a booming, punchy 4/4. Eventually those melodic figures return to waft around the heavy churn, joined by an uplifting arpeggio harmony, but they don't carry the same dramatic potential as when Kennedy left them alone. His shuddering rhythms can give purpose as much as stifle possibility. In that way, Clarion Call has trouble making its domineering beats and brilliant melodies work together as a compelling whole, even as it delivers sturdy techno fare in the process.
Kennedy is at his best when juggling just a few ideas. All 808 momentum and chilly dissonance, "Dusk" is a fine example of that, as is the rugged, otherworldly stomp of "Kepler." The latter track has no qualms reimagining early Autechre's industrial-tinged IDM as formidable dance music with an unsettling sci-fi glint, and is the highlight for it. "The Fold," on the other hand, starts out simply enough, with glacial tones moving loosely around a straight kick pattern, but Kennedy soon pours on high-definition flourishes to little effect. Every drum and synth on Clarion Call is too well-crafted to not pique the interest of any techno head in earshot, so it's hard not to wonder how strong the EP could have been with more attention to cohesive arrangements.
A1 Clarion Call
A2 The Fold