Bis Bald Records
TBR: April 18th
When passion takes hold of an electronic music producer, we know that we're in for a treat. Barney Khan is one of those sound sculptors who knows how to utilise the full arsenal of devices at hand to create ultimate works. Naming his adventure after the iconic Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, Khan hopes to establish a ground-breaking design that defines a whole generation of sounds. By drawing on film, live vocals, poetry readings, and all the traditional tools of the EDM scene, Khan brings on a dimension all of his own in this work. Exploring various corridors of cartographic sound, Fahrenheit 311 is said to lead us in various directions as we submerge ourselves in the creativity of the artist.
Beginning with Delayed Gratification, a dusty intro reveals a distant and resonant kick-drum. A fuzz and static blankets the sonic atmosphere, gentle clouds begin to swell in the sky. Rhythmic globules of vapour in the form of tightly knitted light tap drums build foundations while long stretching tones draw giants across their columns. Metallic percussion makes an appearance, hammering us down like steel pegs into soft and forgiving earth. Vocal lines with abstract distortions echo across open expanses of space. Everything boils down to distant happenings, and as we pierce the darkness with our audial senses, a flood gate opens and lets the compressed energy bolt through the filter of drum and pounding sonics.
The next track opens on a deep and punchy bass tone. It begins to loop and with the help of a fast bass-drum, it forms a line of sonic fusion from which all begins to grow. A delicately plucked rhythm emerges from the overlapping bass tone which grows into a throbbing beat. Drums and distant vocals dress the spinal sounds in loosely fitting garments. A real charged flow comes from this number, bringing us closer to the music while remaining dreamy and artistic. Catacombs makes use of a dancing tempo with experimental expressions of sound to merge the dancing party with the story-book of Barney Khan.
Next up is an album mix of Despot. Starting with gentle metallic percussion with a wooden bass to keep time, synths gradually lumber in on drawn out notes. A melodic rhythm begins an enchanting dance before growling gives way to alien energy beams. We're hypnotised into a world full of pressure by this burst of mental focusing, and to make it sink in there comes a deep and heavy kick-drum. Digital moans and exclamations of emotive power are scattered over the framework which mingle with swirling synths and abstract forces of sound. The progression is tidal, and with each new wave, a churning sonic experience crests over us before splashing down with all its kinesis.
Following from this, we're led down a gloomy tunnel of spiralling descent. The shadows flicker in the presence of lamps, which grow to become fires as the passage opens out into a vast underground hall. The orchestral and atmospheric composition gracefully reclines after only a minute or two. Impressionism rolls out into As A Young Wasteman via some jumpy choral bursts. Drums and chimes relocate the track's energy before more choral wails, like ghostly voices in subterranean labyrinths, shimmer into fading existence. Bells and chimes begin to dominate, their tunes dissipating across the soundscape like herds of social animals.
Kersal Massive enters with a steady bass-drum-beat that is soon joined by off kilter hats, puffing out the tempo to fill the void. Computer sounds reminiscent of tiny bells jingle like disturbed ornaments while the rhythm progresses and includes more variation of percussion. A timed sample repeats in a distorted growl while clanking machinery and analogue sound production grapples with digital inflections of synthesised tone. Whistly tones repeat a brief coded message like sound across the top layer of the mix while the tempo crumbles down into bare minimums. Bass tones then fall into place and entice the music to rev back up again, which it does with more ferocity than before.
Next, a simple two note melody projects out in a sombre rhythm. A minor key is felt, and as the notes build into chords, this effect is accentuated. Worming down cast shadows snake into coiled masses of sonic placement while a melody grows and evolves to encapsulate ever more feeling. Darkness prevails, yet with a glistening of hope stitched into the very fabric of its existence, the track shows us a despair and a wish. Another short one, Self Destruction boils off to leave us with Hauntology.
An elasticated tone springs from the stodgy backdrop of sound, and on rubbery shoes, a melody begins to build and push forward. As it breaks free into its own rite of being, a drum joins in to provide a stable casing for its vibrancy. Plucked and bending notes mix with solid and grabby beats to give a double layering of well joined flavours. There is a sinister and eerie sensation about this track, yet it is full of adventure and follows a positive direction. Are we seeking ghosts or proving an after-life?
Straight-away Welfare System strikes us with tones, beats, and a direction. Dance worthy composition rumbles on a tight turning circle, only to be squeezed in further with a compression style synthesiser. Tones in the same family of keys all jostle and pack together as if shuffled cards of all the same suit. Jangle cymbals provide a sparking illumination to the wobbling and rhythmic culmination. Minimal yet full of character, a natural tension infuse through-out. Is this a soundtrack to life on benefits? Your review author once wrote on this subject for true to life fiction.
Next, another deep and delicious bass-tone opens for us. Joined by seductive vocals, briefly casting a spell over the first few bars, a distant monotonous synth holds down an airy tone. The close to the ear vocals begin again, causing us to listen intently to what is about to follow. A tense cymbal beat keeps everything in high tempo before it breaks down into egg-yolk style loose notes that drip from the once compressed feelings. Beats and gloopy music float on a wave of vocal energy that simmers on a light heat. Shutters seems to be an introspective and sensual number, lost in one's own absorption.
Ending on A Portrait Of and then Midnight In Moabit, the album of twelve tracks really opens us up to a world of electronic sounds and dreary inner landscape. With multiple directions and influences such as James Joyce and Mark Fisher, which are unusual for a musical product, we're given a defiantly unique and self-manicured escapade through various campaigns of sound manipulation. It all works well, nothing has been left to chance as each second of this near hour long quest hangs beautifully from the last.
Get involved with Barney Khan via Soundcloud
Rowan Blair Colver for the Homunculus Media Group
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