KESTON & WESTDAL: One Day To Save All Life (Unearthed Music)


Posted on Jun 19th 2008 10:47 pm

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Keston & Westdal: One Day To Save All Life

One Day To Save All Life
Unearthed Music 2008
12 Tracks. 61mins37secs

John Keston and Nils Westdal have been working together since the tail-end of the nineties, although their debut album, Super Structure Baby, was only released four years ago on short-lived New York imprint Coup De Grâce. With this record, Keston & Westdal presented a series of chilled electronic compositions infused with chunky jazz overtones, fusing Keston’s background as a jazz pianist and Westdal’s warm and enveloping bass. The album was followed by a second opus, Truth Is Stranger, released in 2007.

One Day To Save All Life takes quite a different path. Partly leaving behind the soft lounge forms they had become accustomed to, Keston & Westdal investigate here much more complex grounds and occasionally find themselves in the vicinity of Boards Of Canada or Isan, especially on album opener Some Kind Of Adhesive or on Cover Your Eyes. This is at times more of a subliminal connection than a fully conscious process. Electric Sheep for instance is fuelled by jazz chord progression and rhythmic forms, while Ultraviolet Amphibian focuses primarily around Westdal’s bass, but these respective pieces are dipped in warm kaleidoscopic soundscapes which owe a lot to the BoC lexicon.

While Keston & Westdal seem to increasingly dress their lush melodic themes with equally rich electronic soundscapes, their music is still very much driven by a feel for live performance and, as demonstrated on tracks such as Panopticon or Fe2O3, undoubtedly retains a funky side. All the way through, the pair titillate emotions and trigger cinematic references, but it is perhaps Westdal’s warm bass pulses which define this album and give it its peaceful pastoral feel. Yet, while the album shows some strong evocative élans, the pair struggle to keep the flow going throughout, and the album ultimately suffers from a lack of truly distinctive features. This said, Keston & Westdal’s move toward warmer musical grounds is very encouraging, with moments like the laidback seventies-fuelled groove of the all too short Aerosol Eighty, the sweeping widescreen features of Six Weeks or the elegant chilled funk of Fe2O3 proving truly infectious. If One Day To Save All Life doesn’t quite manage to convince entirely, it certainly paves the way for a potentially magnificent follow up.


Unearthed Music
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One Response to “KESTON & WESTDAL: One Day To Save All Life (Unearthed Music)”

  1. […] & Steve Reid, to name but two, electronic musician John Keston, best known as one half of Keston & Westdal, and drummer Graham O’Brien have teamed up for a rather curious, and excellent, first […]