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coverpic flag US - Arizona - Full Moon 101 - 12/26/04

the abstraction agenda

Don't know what it is about lower case typography, but everyone's into it. Perhaps it's about the lowering of expectations - better to be modest and pleasantly surprise everyone than swan in like an arrogant twat and be laughed at.

And so it is with lower-case kmotiv, or Kevin Kelsey to everyone else who uses capital letters. Look: he's in my top-ten albums of the year! How the hell did that happen? I never like albums that I get for free!

But I really, really like this. In style it falls somewhere between melodic electronica and instrumental hip-hop, two genres where it's really difficult to produce something that's both original and listenable. And with the abstraction agenda kmotiv has done it.

The album is short, sweet and almost perfectly formed. Aside from occasionally slipping into a sound that's almost, gulp, New Age in feel, and lazily repeating the elements from one of the ten tracks ("five after one") in another (closing track "one after five"), the rest is lovely.

Being a guitarist myself it's always reassuring to hear a good guitar sound, and here we find not only a pretty electric tone on "emergence", but also excellent acoustic guitar melodies leading my favourite track "something on the wing", and centerpiece "five after one". Elsewhere the choices of drums and synth sounds are absolutely on the money, lending everything a satisfyingly polished feel.

Reminiscent in parts to Four Tet - yes, that good - this has been my favourite surprise of the year: an album that promised little but delivered in spades. Nice one Kev.

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