Review of Kelpe's album Cambio Wechsel
Loughborough wanderer Kel McKeown, aka Kelpe, has returned to the studio to sneak his way back onto the scene. Discovered and outed in 2003 by DC Recordings 'Cambio Wechsel' is McKeown's third album. Now not that he's not had his fair share of fans, but Kelpe has never had the kind of praise you'd expect. His beats are handcafted masterpieces that bring the whole sound to a more tangible medium. It sometimes sounds asif McKeown has drafted himself a band to record with. No mean fete.
Opening track Decopression Introduction sounds like Four Tet revisiting Pause and polishing of each sound to its crispest. Despire this, there's no mistaking Kelpes use of stripped down synth. Fluttering bleeps and bloops echo into The Blankout Agreement. A simple drum loop with a sometimes mismatched, meandering synth, the percussion gently builds. It suddenly occurs to me that whilst Kelpe has managed to forge his own sound, he's also managed to straddle some of the most cutting edge dancefloor sounds. Managing to infuse hip-hop and electronica as well as rookie genre Wonky and cliq-hop. There are times where I find myself wondering why artists like Flying Lotus and Rustie are so popular, and yet Kelpe struggles to find place.
A few fuzzy basslines and fidgety basslines later and I'm hooked. The breaks, the lowend buzzes and the jazz. It's all here. After Gold sounds like McKeown has rewritten Paint it Black by the Rolling Stones and managed to keep Micky and the prunes out of the picture.
Now we get to Microscope Contents, the only track on Cambio Wchsel that I have any reservation about. Its not because its not a good tune. For my money this sounds like Luke Vibert, but that's just it. It sounds like Luke Vibert, not Kelpe. I like minimal acid house as much as the next guy, but Its not until past 2 minutes in the song that McKeown makes himself known. A shame, but not a tragedy. This track would've been better as a b-side.
Kudos to Mr. McKeown. He's forged forward in this new release. Acquired himself peers such as Bibio, Four Tet, Vibert and J Dilla (RIP). Not bad going for a water loving man from a landlocked city.
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