At this point I sit a little unsure what there is to say that hasn’t been said by the countless reviews Kuedo’s Severant LP has received already. It’s the week of release and it remains as tough to truly get into as it is engulfing once you do. Upon finding the right mood, the right level of depth and immersion the album is a very powerful thing. Full of fraught, frowning synths that sing from the root node of Vangelis’ vocal chords it’s layered and seasoned with the kind of frenetic percussion you’d find on a juke track – a combination that sounds a lot more ridiculous here than it is on this record.
From the arpeggiations of tracks like ‘Flight Path’ it’s clear that Jamie Teasdale’s penchant for science fiction odysseys runs a little deeper than the pictures of Dune and the accompanying futuristic-scapes that populate his tumblr; but there’s something a little unsettling about calling what he does ‘futuristic.’ In my mind, Kuedo appropriates sounds and atmospheres, the same sounds and atmospheres that might have moved you subliminally when they’re soundtracking something visually, but in using himself and his love of hip hop and footwork as a filter, he’s contorted all these heralded touchstones to produce something wholly unique.
Simply put, the palette Teasdale paints with his scruffy, full of gritted pads, mid range heavy synthesizers and explosions of delay. He imbibes each track with that primitive, ‘80s view of the future,’ sense of wonderment and in doing so he captures the same kind of imagination that made the soundtracks and films (that are so readily referenced when people write about him) seem so daring and alien. ‘Scissors’ ruffled take off powers away behind the sublime 90s R&B chimes and ‘Salt Lake Cuts’ ends up as would-be-boogie, albeit a funk addled montage sequence that’s wrapped up in shards of beaming light and powered by heavy boom bap. ‘Truth Flood’ uses a similar upwardly lilting melody to one of his breakout tracks, ‘Star Fox’, but it’s Kuedo’s new and aggressive use of percussion that quells any sense of similarity; his wanton over egging hi hat rushes careering through every evolution.
Stylistically Severant is leagues ahead of a lot of dubstep affiliated producer albums. It veers so far away from the concept of anything Teasdale did with his first musical incarnation, Vex’d, that it ends up in some other twinkling galaxy, looking down through the glass on those so quick to jump to assumptions; but in a way, much like a big chunk of the Vex’d work, this album is kind of a hard ass. There may be less of the concrete fist slamming through the dubstep chug about it, but there is definitely the same level of seriousness to it. Listening to the ticking trickle winding fruitfully passed the peaked frequencies and into that maddening footwork quickness, it all sounds so gloriously sepia tinged, and for all the moments of genuine ingenuity, shimmering brilliance and absolute, unequivocal genius, there are times when you just wish Teasdale would just say ‘fuck it,’ and throw down one clusterfuck of a party.
Words: Oli Marlow // Out: Now
Kuedo – ‘Severant’ Sampler [Planet Mu]