Ka§par - Gestures Of Release (Percebes Música, 2021)
The Portuguese maestro returns to our audial sphere with an excellent new LP that toes the line perfectly between sauntering jazzy house, simmering dub laden grooves, leftfield meanderings and gorgeous cosmic plains.
To bring together a collection of tracks into a long player doesn't necessarily mean that the tone and melody of tracks needs to remains the same, and more often than not the very best are able to milk various feelings for all it's worth. LPs by their nature look to expand the scope of an artist's intentions, capitalising on all the positive steps made within EPs in order to provide a context to a wider scaled project, with long players epitomising the totality of a creative outlook that persists within the producers behind it all. With the addition of more tracks comes a greater need to experiment, with more divulgences occurring as to keep the feeling of impact present in not just 3 to 4 cuts but over 8 to 9 or even more, and with this shift in focus comes a highly expansive and deeply engrossing soundscape. Over time we come to know and love certain producer's outputs, our personal preferences very much aligning to their audial identity so that as further records come our way we easily slip into the music being presented, and when albums come along we are even more intrigued as to the steps they might make in order to give over to us a wider sense of understanding. The sounds of before get capitalised on and expanded, where little snippets from past EPs are given a wider meaning within this new world we are entering into, with the results always a joy to listen to. Within any kind of genre, the most successful LPs have a sense of purpose to them, with a beginning middle and end that flows through the stages with a joyous ease that leaves us with such contentment when the needle gets lifted off the record, the experience encapsulated by an overarching theory that works so very well together. Not only do these records deliver in this regard, but the content has an incredible range to it, feeling and moving through various tonal outlines to provide a wide ranging experience that never stands still but simply moves on at its own pace, delivering tunes that operate as a singular collection but also as individualised self-contained windows into the imagination. It makes for an experience that feels fully realised, where the grain of the record isn't entrenched in one genre or one thread of a genre but more so that it's embedded into multiple strands of feel. This makes for compelling listening, and it stands as a testament to the producers who make these kind of records in that they are able to build upon what came before and then successfully bring together all the flavours that come forth from their mindset. These experiences leave a lasting impression, an audial statement that encapsulates what these artists are all about along with allowing us to feel like there's so much more to look forward to in the future, and when this feeling is captured you create intimate bonds with listeners for life. Passion, creative will and flexibility always aid in the craft of music production, and when applied to its utmost these ideals will ensure that we leave records with the warmest of feelings in our hearts, and that is a very special thing indeed.
A producer who certainly knows how to build upon previous successes and always find a way to wow listeners is Portuguese producer and label head João Pedro Gaspar da Silva Pires, with the music he releases under the Ka§par name always finding new angles and spaces in the most breathtaking of manners. Ka§par's music is largely governed by the feel of Deep House, but to say the music being made is simply Deep House would be doing the discography a disservice, as the enormity of the depth which gets explored is second to none, along with the playful inventiveness that leaps out from each record highly infectious and full of joy. The manner in which the keys apply themselves within a sea of rhythm constantly shifts throughout the discography, with the formula highly flexible in being able to deliver experiences that always keep us on our toes. This approach helps to maintain the feeling that you are listening to a Ka§par record, but that there's always something new and bold to get your teeth into, in that each release helps to push forward the narrative that little bit more, crafting a level of anticipation that makes the listening experience that little bit more enjoyable. There's an overriding level of exploration that only comes from a deep set passion for a particular genre or style, and this notion is reflected in the level of which an artist is willing to combine new strains with their core audial DNA, and Ka§par has consistently shown that he has applied a significant amount of time to growth and progression. The music itself is always intriguing, with the chordal arrangements filled to the brim with character and tone whilst the drumming patterns underneath are always drenched in purpose, with the overall vibe being delivered to us revolving around a core deep house sound that feels different each and every time. Ka§par clearly has a deep affinity with looking inwards and finding a new piece to add to the puzzle, this much is clear with the manner in which audial atmospheres begin to emerge from each record with a profound level of meaning, and we as listeners are blessed for choice when it comes to picking between which vibe we want to get down with. There's plenty of excellent EPs to highlight from his discography, with our favourites including the 90s tinged roller 'So Right', which arrived in 2010; the purposeful and highly expressive feels found on the 'Ode To The Ancients' record, which landed in 2011; the silky smooth frequencies that reside within the excellent 'Cruising Andromeda' EP, which landed in 2012; the feverish groovers that leap out from the 'Four Bastard Boogie Joints' EP, which arrived in 2013; the powerful flows which abound from the 'Spice of Light' record, which also arrived in 2013; the deeply engaging and dynamic feels of the 'Code Duello' album, that came out in 2015; the playful rhythms and melodic loops that make up the 'Epicurismo' album, which arrived in 2018; and finally, the techno leaning epicness that exudes from the 'Planar' EP, which was released in 2019. In all, there's a lot to sink your teeth into within Ka§par's world, and it's a space that we feel blessed to be involved within, as there is so much excellence to get to know that persists from all corners of his audial universe. Every time we dip into one of his records, both old and new, we are always greeted with an impeccable eye for detail that helps to make the music feel warm and complete, with the technicals very much on balance with mood and emotional depth. It's an impressive sound that has only diversified as time has passed, a sound that morphs with passion and intrigue, something that helps to bind us into his world each and every time.
And now we arrive at his latest record, 'Gestures of Release', which lands via da Silva Pires' excellent imprint Percebes Música. We've made it fairly clear how much we appreciate it when an artist builds upon and encapsulates all their previous works into a brand new package that touches upon the cornerstones of their sound, and with this new record there is certainly much to celebrate in that department. All of the best aspects of the Ka§par discography are on full force here, with each cut pulling off it's own feel with a kind of brilliant dynamism you come to expect from certain producers, and on this record there is little time spent standing still, as waves upon waves of details begin to permeate in from a very compelling and believable world indeed. House remains the skeletal framework here but the spaces between the beats are filled with a vast array of emotionally driven tones, meaning that where ever you find yourself dipping into the collection there is something for every mood imaginable, along with some D'n'B and electro feels thrown in for good measure. There's plenty to feast your eyes on, a captivating mixture of upbeat fuel boosters, deep introspective mellow numbers, and everything inbetween, all guided by a producer very much attuned to his passions and his techniques. And, with that sentiment, lets dive right into this glorious world of light.....
Up first comes 'Miles Away', and this one begins with the kicks and keys to get us going. The background is vividly painted by the looping chordal line, it's feel warm to the touch and soothing to the soul, with it's presence staying strong as the drums begin to multiply with new additions throwing themselves into the mix from all directions. The vocal sample rings out across the tune to add direction and meaning, and before long we see the arrival of the sax line to really get things groovin', and this is very much the space we find ourselves in for the next few bars. The flow of the tune is irresistible, with dips and dives taken in all the right places, with the bass line pumping right through the heart of proceedings as little textural flourishes capture our attention within the mix. The drums hit hard through the mid section which helps to craft a cavernous sense of scale, as if the song is designed to fill up the room in which it might be played, with this feeling really shining as the chordal arrangement and sax line move away to give the drums plenty of room to grow. The vocal line repeats itself here to keep us engaged, with this segment then giving way to the captivating key solo that rises higher then higher, flying high above the mix beneath to keep that sense of scale intact. A beautiful opener, for sure. Up next comes the title track, and this one begins with the kicks and the filtered melodic features to get us going. The composition is quickly joined by the regular rhythm of the hi hat, with the textures of all the elements having a real earthy quality to them, and as we admire the aesthetics the vocal sample rings out across the audial plains, it's breath like quality adding further to the melting pot of tones. The track then sees a rising note come from the far away distant place to arrive right in the middle, it's climatic nature seeing the track swell then swell some more before leading right into the vocal heavy section of the track. As the melodics cheerful play around underneath it all, the vocals take their time to work their magic as we close our eyes to soak it all up, the classic rave scream sample adding further to the narrative, and after a slight dip in energy the drums go into over time. The density in this track is immense, with every ingredient doing it's part to capture an essence of purity in the dance, the atmosphere one of deepness that dips you right into the dance, with all manner of feels swirling around you. What a vibe, this one. 'Rectify' comes next, and this one starts off in slower waters. The quiet explosions of melody quickly evolve as the soundscape looks to include the lightest of chordal blemishes, with the way in which the groove emerges on this cut an absolute joy to digest and get to know. The drums and bass line do much to involve us within the mix, as delightful key lines flutter around the peripheries, like cascading leaves in the warm autumn sun, and as the gorgeousness couldn't get any more engaging, the vocal sample then leads right into a sequence of such majesty. Additional synths add further scope to the melodic outlay, with a real mix of key lines helping to make the track feel so very large, the flows between different segments pulled off impeccably. The vocal samples help to provide breaks between the melodically layered sections, with their presence adding a contrast that works so very well, as the track continues to evolve and meander through all kinds of brilliantly conceived audial segments. Beautiful stuff.
Up next comes 'Suave', which features Helder Russo, and this one starts off very silky smooth indeed. The rhythm is more passive here but no less intriguing, with the incredibly crunchy hi hat line capturing our attention immediately, as the spaces between the kicks become filled with delightful melodic touches, with the rising chordal arrangement in the background quiet at first before rising in terms of volume and scale. The tune then climaxes a bit to bring the chords into full focus, but rather than keep them flat we see their shape change significantly into a multi-faceted organism, encouraging all manner of elements to rise up with it as we swing back into a more subdued section. This doesn't last long as the vocal sample drifts incessantly across the mid section, with bombastic chordal stabs adding so much dynamism into the mix, and as we flow through the next few segments we are greeted by a wave like feel to the keys that keeps us afloat above a sea of intoxicating rhythmic pulses, and like that the track sees itself out into the night. Pretty special, that one. 'Head Down' arrives next, and this one begins with the now familiar kicks and subtle yet very effective sonics to get us going. As time passes we start to see the keys grow in tone and depth, their groove and feel getting us on our feet as the swell keeps us moving through into the main event, where the melodics have come right to the front. The track then takes a dip down to reveal a high octane key line that switches between just the two notes but is very effective indeed, with the vocal samples adding further to the intrigue as the arpeggio lines make a welcome return. The numerous lines of inquiry wrap their way around one another to craft a highly pleasing sound to the ears, with the vocal sample and high line key sequence making a return as we dip and dive amongst the layers, taking the time to absorb all that we need to as it starts to wind down and find another space in which to inhabit. Up next comes 'Feelin' Something', which begins with the rising haze to get us going. This quickly jumps into the main rhythmic driver of the powerful bass line and expressive drumming pattern, with the movement into the next phase pulled off impeccably as glassy chords lovingly lay themselves on top of the progression to give the track a real sense of urgency. The track then reaches a high point before moving back into it's original form, with the bass line maintaining a steady line through the middle as the drums continue to expand their horizons with little percussive measures floating into the mix. The laser like sound moves us into a down time moment that sees all kinds of expressive brilliance occur, with the glassy chords returning alongside all manner of other melodic features to give us an unbelievable spectrum to move around in, but the moment we were all waiting for falls into our laps. The two sequences intertwine in the most spellbinding of ways, with the chords maintaining their application as we lift off back into the core progression, our heads placed firmly in the middle of this unbelievable sea of audial delights. There's still plenty of manoeuvring to go though, as time is taken to manipulate the form of each passing bar, with the momentum being created so intuitive and free flowing, this track really does have it all.
'Membrana' comes next, and this one starts off with the bass notes to get us going. The track then opens up as the claps start to punch through the wall of bass, and before long we emerge into an electro style feel where the rising pads compliment the hard hitting drums to a T, with th track evolving further to add further elements into the mix as time passes by. The additional keys and environmental chordal lines wrap around the head with a breezy ease, as we stand still in order to marvel at all the elements that begin to intensify around us, with the chordal arrangement swelling then swelling some more as the drums kick out for a moment. It all comes back into play pretty swiftly afterwards with the drums and bass line coming back into the mix, with their presence quickly joined by the chords which still feel as impactful as the first time we heard them. The track takes one final breather before riding back in on the largest of wave crests, as the final piece of the puzzle comes into view in the form of some playful key lines. Gorgeous stuff. 'Clone Forge' arrives next, and this one starts off with the chordal line to get us going. It's texture is something to behold, a blissful euphoria that only a certain kind of chordal arrangement can evoke within us, and before long the keys leave us to reveal the kicks. The rhythm is immediately involving, keeping us locked in to a sequence that sees the melodics in the backdrop shift and swim around as our focus remains stuck on the drums, but that is the delight in which Ka§par crafts his tunes - your focus is ever shifting, darting around looking for the spaces in the density that emerge with the passing of time. The keys start to slide back into a more prominent position in the mix around the half way mark, and to see all the elements collide in this way is delightful, with the vocal sample that comes into view next leading us further into this world being crafted before us. The snappy flickering of the synths leads the way into another breakdown before leading right back into the kicks, as we take off one final time into the outer realms. Stellar stuff. Up next comes 'Time Apart', which features Thunder & Co. and AL:X, and this one starts off with the repeating key and a exceedingly rich rhythmic undercurrent. The track evolves every time the vocal sample slides into view across the plains, with the acid line energetically moving across the pan before leading the way into a proper junglist breakdown we just did not see coming. The mix is emphatic, with the key work full and bold as hell, as the bass rips through the dense drumming pattern, with the vocal sample finding the time to throw itself back into the mix with devastating efficiency, and this then leads into the track taking an extended downtempo period. The keys spend a lot of time here continuing to maximise the potential of the soundscape, but you just know the drums ain't finished yet, and this time they really milk all the climatic value they can with an extended segment building up the crowd before letting loose in the most spectacular of ways. To wrap things up, we have 'Maritime Myriad', which features Change Request, and after all that energy it's time to take things down a notch in the energy department. The rolling dubby drums keep the pace underneath as the slowly evolving chords tug at the heartstrings with their delicate interplay, with all manner of textures emerging to keep us firmly engaged with the unraveling cascade of sound. It's a fitting end to a record fuelled by creativeness, where the momentum of tracks is defined by an impeccable eye to detail and a superb approach to tonal manipulation, and that is why you will keep coming back for more - over and over again.
To say that a lot goes on in this record is a massive understatement, but we mean it in the most positive of ways. Rarely do you hear a record that is filled to the brim with audial elements, concepts and flows, and on this new Ka§par record you are spoilt for choice when it comes to digging right into a track's core and just going with the flow. The album has an invisible tonal bond that binds everything together, in terms of applications and audial textures that craft an intriguing web of feeling in which we can bathe, but within that web each track has so much room to display to us. As a story it works so so well, with all the excellent explorations that occurred within his previous works making their presence known throughout, and that is a wonderful thing indeed. We remain very much in awe as we bask in the afterglow of this record, a piece of music that dazzles on so many levels, a banquet of audial delights that never seems to run dry. A record that will live long in the memory, for sure.
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