Scenic Route

ENERGY ZOOMS FROM one end back to the other, a breathing, pulsating perpetual motion machine emitting and absorbing waves with effortless grace.

At the heart of the mechanism is London trio LV and Joshua Idehen, whose latest LP, Routes, off Keysounds maintains a warm rhythmic ebb and flow that, once you’ve reached the album’s end, shoots you back to the first track for another go around.

Routes is a living organism, a synthesis of different systems of sounds complementing and cooperating with one another to produce a vibrant sonic being.  It’s cohesive and multidimensional, with various synapses firing different moods and tempos to build a complex unit of emotions.  The wax and wane, expanding and contracting of Routes undulates like the curves of a body taking breath.

With connections to Hyperdub, LV and Idehen share similarities with Kode9 and The Spaceape.  Light speed UK Funky pattering drumbeats balance crooning sub bass lines and recurring measures of pure silence, and Idehen’s vocals sway from heavy MC-like spoken word flows to light scat plinks and tantric repetitions dotting the melody.

Yet Routes is an entity in and of itself, containing bludgeoning beats that establish its place as one of the best electronic albums of 2011 to date.

“Tough” leads the way, a complex, interwoven fabric of sounds and sonic phrases whizzing by and completing one another in a wavy, hypnotic rhythm.  There’s so much movement: swooshes of an electrified slap bass, followed by a deeper bellowing bass, 2-step offbeat drum, blinking 8-bit laser synth, and popping Idehen vocals flying by.  The soundscape passes like the view of a landscape from a train, short glimpses and images giving way to the next batch in an ever churning push forward.

Other standouts include “Melt”, “Never Tired” and “Deleted Scene”, although Routes should be listened to in full.  “Melt” bumps with a Latin, almost reggaeton rhythm, with entrancing vocals, staccato synth and growling bass.  “Never Tired” is a kaleidoscope of timbre, clinking woodblocks and stuttering vocals overlaying angelic harp-like synth.  “Deleted Scene” has a velvety late-night vibe, dark and silky soulful synth drops with a resonating bass heating things up.

Routes has so much going on, a complex organism relying on so many varying factors that all unite to form a beautiful masterpiece.  Please listen to the album all the way through, keeping an ear out for idées fixes.  Stream it in its entirety at XLR8R or listen to single tracks below.

Deleted Scene

I Know

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One Response to “Scenic Route”

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