- Is Konduku one of techno's brightest new talents? This album suggests so.
- If techno did award ceremonies, Konduku, real name Ruben Üvez, would have been a dark horse for Best Newcomer a couple of years back. The Amsterdam-based artist broke through with Kıran, a striking debut album that conveyed a gift for crafting eminently danceable rhythms. Like the best music to come out of Bristol this past decade, the LP twisted techno into strange, bassy forms. The music was nimble and understated, not the kind, perhaps, to immediately leap off the turntable. But play it to a captive audience in a dark club and the effects could be spellbinding.
Since Kıran, Üvez has released three EPs, all of which, especially Emerald Island on Nous'klaer Audio, deserve your attention. The latest notch on this prolific run is White Heron, his second album. Spanning eight tracks, it's another remarkable record, deep and curious, packed tight with intricate drums and a seemingly endless stream of absorbing sounds. The overall mood is tense—gone are the bright pads and chirpy melodies of Kıran. There's still a resonating warmth but this time it's fragile and metallic. The sunny peaks of Üvez's beloved Cappadocia in Turkey, the inspiration for the last LP, feel like a fading memory.
The music on White Heron is thick with bass and intensely hypnotic, powered by loops you could listen to for hours. At the same time, the tunes don't sit still—an eerie warble or flash of sunlight is never far away. This combination makes for an engrossing listen. On the humid opener, "Kenar," a lilting rhythm wades through a fog of synth ripples. The bassline oozes, weaving satisfyingly in and out of the gentle percussion. Not even piercing claps, introduced midway through, can snap you from your trance.
This kind of seductive rhythmic interplay occurs throughout the record. Take the drowsy flow of bleeps and bloops on the title cut. Or the way the bassline clings to the scythe-sharp drums on "Hermitage," giving it the ominous air of mid-'00s dubstep. Things get more complex on the polyrhythmic "Sonsuz Rüzgar" (Turkish for "endless wind"), though there's still only a few elements in the mix: hand drums, rubbery bassline, softly euphoric pads. It's minimal music that locks you in and doesn't let go.
If there's a criticism of White Heron, it's that there aren't more "moments." I only say this because, judging by the LP's standout track, "The Restless," Üvez clearly has it in him. Named, I'm sure, for its severely paranoid lead, this eerie jam suddenly dissipates halfway through into a faint hum of bleeps and knocks. Out of nowhere, the kick drums slam back in, bolstered again by the mean bassline and a fresh peal of synths. It's a striking flick of the wrist, the kind of technique that can cause eruptions on focussed dance floors. But maybe reactions like this don't interest Üvez. White Heron, after all, is all about making people move with subtle rhythms that bury, rather than bully, themselves inside your brain and body. It's incredible, unconventional dance music.
02. Kış Uykusu
04. The Restless
05. Sonsuz Rüzgar
06. White Heron