Enkeleen - Ek is Legio - Enkeleen's exhilarating electronica

2006-03-29 18:27

Enkeleen spent hours, days, weeks and even years twiddling those Pro-Tools knobs in the studio, sculpting sample shards, looping and massaging instruments and collaborators on live instruments in order to distil this bizarre sonic brew. And yes, it is bizarre. It's an electro-acoustic hybrid that unfolds to its own virus-mutating pulse.

"Af Aan" is a glitch-firing synapse smother where beats fracture away from comfortable generic location while bombastic bass burps arm wrestle with percussive synths. It's small wonder that the idiosyncratic one enigmatically references it as "a fertile album of free range orgaanika". "Skepskop" is a teasing collage melting into "Orgaanika" that de-constructs the dubbed out post-rock groove of Black Milk's original "Solaar Perplexis". This is music that insists on an active listener. Yes, oblique sketches such as "Gloeilampie" and "Enkeldiep" are at times uneasy, even frustrating listening. Yet as the slow-skewered forensic sound autopsies "Karmiese Algebra" and "Stampmielie" reveal, there's a method to such microscopic mad science. Nowhere more obvious than on the frequency tuning genre-hop of "Sosatie" (featuring Boo!'s Ampie Omo on trumpet and trombone). By the time the closing "Springmielie" moves from outwardly ambient chill to narcotic inner ear drift, the listener is left aching after the unanticipated resonance of the plethora of porous open spaces.

The fact that recently founded independent label Open Record has the mettle to release this on a public force-fed middle-of-the-road musical fast food should be applauded. Naturally, it's unlikely that Ek is Legio wil actually find enough of an audience in South Africa to sustain any future Enkeleen developments in sound. But such exhilarating sonic experimentalism deserves far more than to merely drown in some kind of niche market nowheresville.

Those familiar with the duo of eerie Aphex Twin album covers, I Care Because You Do (1995) and Richard D. James (1996) will begin to understand where South African leftfield electro-acoustic composer Enkeleen's debut CD, Ek is Legio is coming from. Those who aren't simply won't. Actually, the Aphex Twin analogy extends into the music as well.

leon 2003/11/21 6:33 PM
weird stuff i bought this CD and i can tell you it's not just weird. it's cool. brilliant. couldn't believe it was local.
Fried 2003/11/30 11:26 PM
Whew - so many expletives! Review of review - sounds like you've just quailified in a creative writing course! I've never seen so many liberally sprinkled adjectives in single sentences before! Hope it sounds as good as it reads (between the msg laced seasoning)
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.