EDWARD KELLEY: KKKOMPUTOR
(custom CD from Edward Kelley; PO Box 2443; Fitzroy Business Centre, Vic. 3065, Australia. email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Low-tech analog synth riffs, grungy, gritty sounds, irreverent humour, and an inability to take any sacred cow seriously are the hallmarks of this debut CD from Edward Kelley. The musical textures are fascinating and ornate, and often feature a combination of squelchy, resonant filter sounds with more bare raw-waveform timbres. Both "abstract" and repetitive rhythmic textures are used here. The spirit of subversion is never far beneath the surface of this music. For example, the drum riff and scratchy filter texture that start off the second track suddenly disappear and leave us with just a bare descending sloppily played three-dyad riff. It takes real courage in these days of po-faced high intellectual seriousness in both the "art music" and "pop" spheres (do those terms mean anything anymore?) to be so blatantly simplistic, and the return of the drum riff and the filter texture do nothing to assure us that they will hang around when they finally do return. The third track is an interesting exercise in building up a musical texture from nothing. Starting with a sparse static-like sound, other elements, a low glissando, a set of high raw-waveform notes, a rhythmic riff made with resonant filter overloads, are gradually added. But the hinted at climax never comes, as each layer self-destructs or mutates in an unexpected way. This is music that is marked by both a withering sarcasm AND a sense of fascination with the ornate beauty of sound. In spite of the sarcasm that oozes from almost every riff, Kelley makes quite engaging work with real musicality and moments of sensitivity and beauty.
(this review was first published in Chroma)