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Klaus: Tusk (R&S)

R&S unveils yet another smart entry into the spacious netherworld between dubstep and otherness. I know really nothing about Klaus as an artist(s), but have been enjoying this one quite a lot. “Tusk” kicks the EP off as a sparse track that rivals the minimalism of James Blake’s less accessible material or the starkness of Airhead. Sounds fade in and reverse out, with well timed zips and stabs of sound that punctuate its syncopated loops and phrases. “Fens” continues the trend, with an even deeper low end and an oblique dub sound in its repetitive chords and delay. “Cypher” breathes in and out via hissy hihats and effects, pulsing like an organism while tones drone overhead, lending it a melancholy vibe, while closing track “Pim” sort of splits the difference between the preceding tracks, with its sub-bass and skittering percussion grounding what would otherwise be a subtle and shifting crinkly ambient track. This lies more on the outskirts of the genre even by R&S’s more adventurous standards, pretty far removed from any dancefloor or DJ compatibility. This is perhaps in itself somewhat interesting, that the label so far into its years is not afraid to take risks or champion music that not only falls in line with trends but pushes their boundaries into new or less typical sounds. It’s smooth and subtle, one that demands repeat listens to sink in but is its own reward.

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