Friday 23 May 2014


This has been a long time coming, or at least in my mind it's taken quite a while. Nevertheless nevertheless I am very glad that it's appeared, even though I'm the one who's late writing about it. I'm the worst one. Please allow me turn to dust in this corner over here. But before I do that, shall we listen to Koloto's Mechanica EP together?

If you're a frequenter of this ramshackle blog then you may have seen that I've written about Koloto before. Real name Maria Sullivan, from Canterbury, UK, she creates percussive rhapsodies that effuse flavourful atmospheres and leap around with progressive dynamism. Hard beats sit alongside intricate glitchery, marimba melodies and waves of synth swirl in cyclones of sound. Third song on the EP 'Antares' shows off the punchier side of Koloto's music for sure, mad prickly percussion doing its insectoid heart-racing thing whilst movie-punch snares and plosive kicks hammer at your skull with dubstep singularity, a flotilla of marimba chords summoning a tribally futuristic backdrop. The drum edits are as satisfying to the ears as sour sweets are to the tongue, and as gorgeously addictive.

Similar aggression crawls out from the depths of final track 'Kill Screen', a cascading VGM-inspired waterfall of bleeps – fugue-like – that craze their way around the ruins of some evil spot in some ruined castle. Knife-cut percussion rends the air with its icy harshness. It's the delectably evil final boss.

'Cedar Shed' is perhaps a race-to-the-finish-type affair, the final furlong before the murderous intent of 'Kill Screen' – it's ominous, billowing with things to come, a warm masterpiece of comfort teetering on the edges of risk and downheartedness. There's a choral intensity to it, a blanket of atmosphere set to ever-progressing live-sounding snares and various drumkit sounds. Likewise in title track 'Mechanica' there's a familiar pattern of sounds that seem to be hard at work in Koloto's music; a kind of downbeat sadness which is hauled upwards by armfuls of stuttering pinprick percussion – grey nothing on one side, glorious opposition to that nothing on the other.

It's kind of in opposition to the softer, upbeat glistenings of 'Fox Tales', whose string-like bass plays plaintive notes, and whose marimba steers away from baroque minor-key menace but rather plays simply and organically – a majestic kind of sound, like looking out at the world through the window just after it's stopped raining and things are still dripping with the remnant progeny of the downpour.

One things is a given with Koloto: insanely talented manipulation of drum sounds. Monstrous beats sway in essentially slow rhythms but whirling all around them like flocks of birds are these glitched-out sounds buzzing, scraping, scratching, whirring. In them is the same tangible satisfaction that you find in wind-up toys – gears, springs and cogs work together in organic mechanical harmony; it's the contented perfection of these mechanisms that Koloto uses, except these wind-up toys are exploded in lip-smacking fireworks of various metallic components. Add to this a clear penchant for the atmospheric, picture-painting nature of videogame music (not only do some of these songs sound as if they'd be right at home in some action-adventure RPG, but 'Kill Screen' is a direct reference to a certain stage in an arcade game where a software bug causes unpredictable gameplay and glitches) and progressive layering of sound: here you have Koloto. Unique, impressive, fascinating, the Mechanica EP is nothing short of brilliant.

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