- KiNK has never been shy about his influences. Even when he's not being as obvious as calling an EP Aphex KiNK, you can guess what Strahil Velchev might've been listening to before making certain records. 2010's "Existence" was a direct nod to Jeff Mills' "Changes Of Life"; 2015's "Fantasia" leaned on Giorgio Moroder. He's covered a wide range of inspirations over his prolific career, from gnarly breakbeat like 2011's "Rave Signal" to jazzy house such as "Leko" from the same year.
"Yom Thorke"—a tribute to Radiohead only in name—is a good introduction to the sound that prevails on Velchev's latest LP, Playground. Its Reese bassline and whirl of bleeps and drones is typical of the house and techno bangers for which he's known. (By contrast, his debut LP, 2014's Under Destruction, had a more experimental feel.) There are a few exceptions, which vary in style and quality. "Taste Of Metal"'s UK techno is uninspired when compared with the artists in Bristol and London exploring that sound more adventurously. "Samodiva"'s opulent harmonies and blaring keys don't quite gel. On the other hand, "Peter Plet Plete" could pass for Plaid in their prime. And "The Universe In Her Eyes" ends the album with a soothingly sentimental caress of keys and strings.
It's the big sounds, though, that Velchev does best. "Perth"'s filtered disco would have demolished dance floors 20 years ago, and, with the help of a "random guy," has done so in 2017. The hardcore-evoking "Suncatcher" uses a similar sub-bass line to "Yom Thorke," laying the foundations for its euphoric synth leads. "The Russian" recalls the '90s progressive house that Bicep have lately explored to such crowd-pleasing effect. At its best, Playground draws from these styles with the sense of fun that's defined much of Velchev's catalogue.
02. Yom Thorke
03. The Russian
07. Teo Techno
08. Peter Plet Plete
10. A Taste Of Metal
12. The Universe In Her Eyes