Patterns & Light
After my post the other day about the quality of morning light and the patterns on the brickwork, it’s almost appropriate to bring you Patterns & Light, the new album from Kodomo. This is IDM with largely classical influences.
It has been three years since Kodomo’s last album Frozen In Motion. That drew comparisons with early Boards of Canada and Plaid (albeit that Christopher Child is from the US). How has he used the time in developing Patterns & Light? Well, it would seem. There’s still that attention to detail which makes Kodomo’s tracks so interesting. But this album has a more obvious balance between electronics and neo-classical structures, especially apparent in the use of piano.
The classical allusions are put from and centre when you call your opening track Overture. This is one of those curtain raiser fragments so beloved of classical composers. Strings saw and electronics ominously bloop. Impromptu bubbles along, punctuated by rippling piano and a big bass drum. Red Giant has rippling synths and a near drum and bass approach to drum patterns. It’s all quite un-American. There’s an awareness of the world that permeates the music, in ways more profound than simply using a Japanese word for your output.
Mind Like a Diamond is another great IDM track. A little bit darker than usual, with clattering, skippy beats and that Japanese air that permeates so much of his work. Class. slows things back down to a more stately pace, with a little bit of dub. Blue Shifter uses varied time sigs, not always successfully. Almost a ‘joke’ piece, which is as unfunny as any classical ‘comedy’ piece. Infinity Divided adds signing vocals to the mix and gets things back on track.
Holographic is a more straightforwardly electronic piece with crunching beats and some unexpectedly big room chords. Bonus track, Losing Your Way makes a last minute swerve, with the vocal giving it an almost Charlatans remixed feel. The acoustic guitar puts it out of sync with the rest of the album and into Four Tet territory. But it’s a rather satisfying piece, with its uplifting air. Overall, more a collection of tracks than an album. But definitely worth checking out.
For the vinyl pervs amongst you, the album comes not only as mp3 and CD but lim ed vinyl “The very limited (300) 180 gram vinyl edition of Patterns & Light comes in a gorgeous clear electric blue and is printed on a thick uncoated jacket and is numbered and signed. It features artwork on the cover and the inner sleeve by California based visual artist Chris Duncan.” Hmmm… nice. Buy.
Blurb: Patterns & Light is an evolution of a recent two-year period where Kodomo sampled classical records found in flea markets and sidewalk sales. Inspired by pieces from Bach, Schubert, Debussy, and Chopin, Kodomo examines how these classics can be re-contextualized, having sampled, stretched, and dissected their often unnoticed and most subtle parts. The samples were fed through various software processing programs and analog gear, generating new sounds, patterns, and ideas from which elements for a track would manifest itself. The album also highlights his collaborations with vocalists Melissa Kaplan (Universal Hall Pass), Sasha Lazard, and John Hogg (Kassini).