Review of Contrail [12k2022]

Futuresequence (.COM)

Australian artist Kane Ikin will be known to most as one half of Solo Andata with Paul Fiocco, their 2010 album <i>Ritual</i>, released on Buffalo based label Desire Path Recordings, received all round critical acclaim and rightly so. <i>Contrail</i> is Ikin’s debut solo EP on Taylor Deupree’s 12K imprint.

Whereas <i>Ritual</i> was defined by its dark, menacing air of suspense through its particular exploitation of micro sounds and recordings of the sounds of the night, the environments and textures described here are of significantly lighter dynamic. Ikin aligns a loosely entwined set of sounds all recorded through old analog equipment to tape. Much like Jason Corder’s offthesky aesthetic, this four track piece unravels at its own unhurried pace, never arriving at any single destination within its duration, but explicitly rendering a unique imagery. A trained guitarist, Ikin uses the instrument as a focal point amongst myriad sound sources, all brought together into delicate yet atmospheric soundscapes.

Much like label mate Marcus Fischer, as much of the opening title track is constructed from field recordings, noise, anolog equipment buzz and tape hiss. Washes of synthesisers add gravity and movement, particularly on a synthetic setting, where they take the lead role – providing a warm ambient texture accompanied by echoing recorded objects and noise – like scratches and worn edges of a photo.

Acoustic guitar and wood blocks create a syncopated rhythm amongst distant howls of wind notes on sailing. Lilting forward, Ikin divines organic of sounds from the deep reverberations of nature; an empty forest, vapourous water, stratus clouds across an otherwise clear sky. Rather than simply placing field recordings in the mix as a background layer, Ikin twists and extracts new sounds from them to evolve a greater sense of the ethereal.

Well-timed bass under pins the delicately resonating wave forms on short wave fade; a blissfully warming composition, as much for it’s formless progression, as for its crafted surface texture.

Contrail (possibly referencing the vapour trails left by aircraft) is a study of moments; either fleeting or lasting in our memories. Carefully selecting and aligning his sound sources with restrained use of instrumentation and melody, Ikin creates a beautiful set of pieces born out of the understanding that the process is as important as the end result.

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