Cold and clinically minimal soundscapes crafted with icy precision are what you're likely to expect from a Finnish architect-turned-dance music producer. Nightless eves of endless sun in the summer, and only a few hours of daylight during winter has notorious effects on the psyche: Agitation, depression, mood changes, social disquiet. And despite Kiki affirming that Kaiku—the Finnish term for "echo"—is a reflection of his life "100% as it is now" in Berlin, those nervy side effects of his Finnish homeland certainly inform his work. It's those brushes with the dark side which suck you in throughout, but Kiki's sophomore LP isn't all sterile and desolate: it has yin to the yang. The malevolent, awkward undertones are countered with a sonic warmth and depth which give Kaiku its complex persona.
BPitch Control's artsy full-lengths tend to be growers: not instantly loveable but instead interesting works which need repeated listens to be really unravelled. And while Kaiku has these challenging moments, it has its fair share of straight-up dance floor bombs as well. "Death Railway," for example, has alien ambience being bullied from below by a militant kick, and is the sort of solid dark house that Pokerflat fans would lap up. But the digital world it documents is a complete volt-face from the previous track. "Immortal" is a vocal lead, organic affair, with strings and click-clack percussion coming together in an edgy, almost uncomfortable way.
The unrest which runs through Kaiku comes from neither one sonic pool nor another, and is neither future digital nor retro analogue, but always flitting somewhere in between. Emotional discord is presented by the rippling keys and cosmic twitches of "No Words Necessary" which, whilst recalling Global Communication, aren't allowed to define the track's tone. Instead, they're contradicted by a nagging, fawning electro stab and twist which makes you somehow feel sorry for it, as if it's literally the sound of your heart strings being plucked.
Instantly your vulnerable state passes, though, as "Starslider" quickly limbers up from a low-slung swagger and shapes into a smartly shuffling house stomper which lifts your mood skyward. It glides along pushing introverted thoughts from the previous track south, and suggests all is well in Kiki's skitty emotional world once again. "Good Voodoo" has shades of Dilla in its driving black funk, and sultry undertones which ooze from guest MC Chela Simone.
Kaiku may be a little disjointed, but the disparate tones and tempos of the record categorise it not as no-brain, forgettable dance floor fodder, but rather a smartly composed—and diverse—listening experience.
Buy Kiki - Kaiku at
Tracklist: Kiki - Kaiku 01. Autumn Leaves
02. After The Storm
03. Good Voodoo (feat. Chela Simone)
04. No Words Necessary
06. Immortal (feat. Pirica)
07. Death Railway
10. Living On FFWD
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