Review of Solstøv [12k1081]

Fluid Radio (UK)

American label 12k are the kings of experimental, electronic music. The New York label was set up by Taylor Deupree in January 1997 and has since become one of the music industry’s shining lights. Since its inception the label has substantially increased its output while remaining true to its original intentions and musical philosophies.

On 12k, minimalist ambient music collides with the acoustic, and electronic rhythms bleed into abrasive, micro-tonal noise. Advances in technology are fused with natural, thicker textures. Digital textures criss-cross over ornate, organic architecture, leading to highly detailed, highly emotional music. But it goes deeper than music alone. Their sleek artwork sticks like vague, white-stoned concrete to the music, glued to the very fabric of the music. 12k care for what they do, which isn’t always the way. These brand new releases on the 12k imprint show their quality and their current intent.

Norway’s pale Pjusk reflect the colour of the grey ocean. Dark tones glide icily over the music, and the lonesome, breathy tones of a saxophone come to claim a single space, an icy, isolated chamber. Chiming, frost-bitten tones tinkle against the saxophone, and the undercurrent of static insists on a cold, dangerous environment. Malevolent, even. It’s a typical 12k release – it gives the listener a copious amount of space to walk around in, the air is fine and clear, breathing isn’t a chore and the music is an experience, unassisted by thoughts or artistic direction. It echoes two of 12k’s founding principles:

“Don’t tell listeners what they want to hear, let them discover that for themselves”.

“Treat your audience as they are: intelligent, passionate lovers of art and sound”.

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