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Lo Kindre - Dusk/Grey Skies (Phase Group, 2020)

Lush and enveloping soundscapes emerge from this gorgeous single from the Glasgow based producer.

Ever since the atmosphere of post-industrial cities was so vividly reimagined during the era of Detroit Techno, many since have looked to this relationship as a means of crafting their own epic musical landscapes. The experience of walking through environments where concrete and metal persist, where the life blood of the city was fed by machines, rhythmic movements and production lines, is often complimented quite well by the rigorous and space age tendencies of techno. The metallic feel of the drums, the cosmic balances between deep set synths and sequences of keys, and the overall tonal quality where the grey seems never ending. The relationship between cityscapes and electronic music, from that first initial pairing back in the 80s, has always remained strong, not unlike other genres that have explored this connection, but with electronica it has always felt more expansive. We feel small in cities, the vastness and densities often feeling overwhelming, and the large expanses of synths and drums often allow us to feel comfortable with our place in it. Due to everyone's individual take on how they interact with the many sides of urban life, the music is always original and organic, reflective of the person who created it, how they want to experience their home, what they see in the city, and how it feeds into their experiences. It begins to read like a book of interpretations, and as we walk along through the same streets, we begin to see these areas through new eyes, hear it through new sounds, relive the vividness of it all.

For a while now, Lo Kindre aka Daniel Magee, has been blessing us with the kinds of organic earthy electronics that we can all find a space within. His music always contains this immediate pulse that we can lock ourselves in, and the rest of the elements weave around in wonderful and mysterious ways. The music never sits still or gets complacent, there is always space to expand or evolve from beyond its present form. Kindre spends a real chunk of time crafting individual experiences within each song, that when collated together on a record read like exceedingly rich and immersive productions, the textures just right, the sound design perfectly poised, the depths always very deep indeed. This kind of approach has always given over very different characters from each of his releases, where the formula remains more as a guide to how the blends of soft pads and rich but light drumming patterns might lead him next. His discography stands testament to someone with a keen ear for sound and a vision for his music that remains boundless, which was exemplified initially on his debut, 2017's 'Plant Up', that had a distinct dub aesthetic that ran from the drums to the vocal samples and key work; 2018's 'The Storm' EP, a collaborative with MR TC, whom he runs Phase Group with, a more chuggy downtempo affair, expansive and bold in equal measure; the absolutely brilliant 'Chlorophytum' record from 2019, that combined the two previous efforts into a sublime series of visual narratives; the leftfield brilliance of 'Private Worlds', also from last year; and finally, the debut on Phase Group, '001', again made with MR TC. Throughout it all, Kindre displays the qualities of contemporary production and music diversity, looking to incorporate numerous facets and streamline them all into a series of experiences that delves deep into the hearts and minds of listeners. It is well worth checking out his back catalogue, for sure a road filled with all kinds of treasures.

So now we arrive at his latest effort, 'Dusk/Grey Skies'. From the off, we are met with a new narrative to settle ourselves into, with some elements remaining from previous efforts but the more dense key work is something a bit new, but something that is very exciting indeed. Immersive just reached new heights, so lets get into it.

Up first comes 'Dusk', and we are greeted to the repeating pad that swells and delves like the blinkering lights. The distinct drumming pattern moves underneath, occupying the same and adding weight to the keys on top. The little key sequences then begin to inhabit the spaces between the pad, rising high and low, creating a wonderful sense of melody and mood. Its full, its enveloping and heartwarming, we begin to immediately paint a picture in our heads of the scene that Kindre is trying to conjure up. The drums fall away for a second, but its not long before we are in full swing again, the slow pace of the track allowing us to really get into it with maximum impact. The keys bounce off the empty streets, the walls lit dimly by hollow lights, making our journey home seem that much more interesting. The structure of the track really invites you in, its hypnotic quality allowing for us to reach out and touch it all with our hands. The arrangement just shows how much you can achieve when you do the sound design thing just right, and structure it so that there is plenty of room for us to get involved. Mesmerising. Up next comes 'Grey Skies', and like before we are met with the singular pad moving through space and time on its forward journey. The pulse is found here, the track slowly but surely moving through the gears, before the new sequence comes in from the distances. Here we begin to see our place, its a big world and we can only see as far as we can see. The key line suddenly finds itself alone, the pad moving away for a moment before coming back into view, the dynamics become just that bit more expansive. More keys move into view, slowly beginning to add complexity through mood and tone, the track becoming more menacing as time moves on, the track pulling us further in as the drums add more with light kicks. Its glorious, as a sonic experience, the manner of how it built up over time, its quite something. An experience that remains tangible and vivid, and through repeated listens you suddenly lose yourself, just slightly, for a minute, before you remember to breath again. Its one of those moments where life slows, it slows down for you to comprehend it all. Brilliant.

We have been aware of Kindre's production prowess for a while now, his ability to create enriching soundscapes celebrated and well known. Now he really does a number on us, with this enchanting take on urban life, his experiences of wondering perfectly encapsulated within this brilliant single. Whilst we all have our own interpretations of the world around us, sometimes people create something that they see in it with such grace and mastery that we too become to bit a part of what they created, of what they see in the world. Its not an easy task, but Kindre pulls it off in some style.

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