- In just 48 hours, KMRU made something more than worthy of Editions Mego's stellar catalogue.
- Peel, Joseph Kamaru's first release for Editions Mego, was conceived as a time-restricted experiment in texture, influenced by "experiences travelling in Montreal, as well as being back in Nairobi just before lockdown." It comes as the Kenyan artist is deservedly earning widespread recognition for his delicate, ambient works. His Bandcamp page is a goldmine of introverted electronic music, and Peel is one of two albums he released in the last month.
Often the most interesting person in a room is the one who demands the least attention. Void of any dramatic gestures, Peel's tracks are unimposing and create a pillowy, womb-like space to relax in. Some are founded on such pure ideas that they recall the concept of Grand River's aptly-titled label, One Instrument. Peel doesn't sound like KMRU playing any specific instrument though—it's more like a stream of formless and organic sounds that grow and erode as the tracks progress.
The whole record is a remarkably smooth ride where minute field recordings and infinite pad sounds gently undulate as if they are breathing. As you track a certain frequency, the others envelop you while drifting in and out of focus. "Klang" peaks the intensity with resonant synth notes and the wash of distant waves. Just shy of 23 minutes, the title track is an epic, snowballing wall of sound. Both triumphant and saddening, it's a poignant end to the album.
Though the stripped-back ideas and freewheeling arrangements feel very instinctive, it's still astonishing that this record was made in just 48 hours. Kamaru said he is "always happy to have limitations while making music, and Peel is a good example of this." He gives the impression that more time wouldn't have yielded better results.
The second KMRU album, Opaquer, landed three weeks after Peel. If you want to hear the breadth of Kamaru's talents, I'd go for Opaquer. If you want to hear his ability to laser in on a very focused idea and extract from it 75 minutes of special music, choose Peel.
01. Why Are You Here