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On the 2nd of two entrancing Beast volumes, modular maverick Koen Holtkamp (Mountains) further distinguishes his new, rhythmelodic velocity in four studio-based iterations, making a subtle contrast with the live performances of Volume 1, and beautifully exemplifying the distance travelled from his earlier works released by Type, Thrill Jockey and Umor Rex since the late ‘00s. Hemming the finest line between the ‘Process Music’ approach of ‘70s minimal/maximalists Jon Gibson and Steve Reich, and the kind of breezy, lush pop minimalism gestured by Wim Mertens, Holtkamp has conceived a wonderfully absorbing bind of rhythm, melody and harmonic dynamics that seems to defy gravity and may even suggest dancing for certain souls, which is something we would never have remarked about his earlier, tonal-based compositions.
Like Volume.1, this 2nd LP derives from Holtkamp’s audio-visual performances centred on the physical properties of light via 3D laser projections. Using a system that models the sonic syntax of his modular synth and VSTs in constantly shifting projections, he has arrived at a richly synaesthetic bind that takes the early A/V experiments of Tony Conrad and many others since into his own, unique world.
The four parts of Volume. 2 were generated and edited in the studio and are arguably bound tighter than their predecessor, resulting more crystalline structures and a more pinched, puckered sort of elegance that subtly contrasts with Vol.1’s free-flowing blooms. That’s clearly in effect with the lissom curves and clipped, airborne waltz of Look Out, while the glittering cascade of Chase Scene sweetly define that paradoxical feeling of poised stasis within a rapid flux, harnessed only by its dembow-like rhythm, before the lofty brass of False Bottom seems to describe a sea cruise where you see the cosmos reflected in a nocturnal lagoon, and Taipei Hideaway gives breathlessly ecstatic close recalling the black MIDI rushes of TCF or Lubomyr Melnyk meditating on a particularly strong swedger.
It all adds up to an impeccable example of that rare effect when listening to electronic music, of glimpsing an underlying code or pattern of transcendence that’s pretty much life-affirming in its revelation. Proper trance music, in others words. Boomkat