Posted on Feb 22nd 2012 01:40 am
Herb Recordings 2012
16 Tracks. 53mins15secs
Choosing a name link Kingbastard as your nom-de-guerre could be seen as a flamboyant fit of arrogance, yet Chris Weeks, who has been using this as his stage name for the best part of ten years, offers a rather different image of himself through his music, an often rich and luxurious blend of ambient soundscapes and sleek electronica occasionally perked up with edgier electronic textures.
Stepping away from the infectious electro shockwaves he exposed on Bastardize, Lostatsea and Tied Up To Machines four years ago, Kingbastard’s Chris Weeks follows his last album, Beautiful Isolation (2010), with another smooth, chilled, electronic soundtrack which builds on its predecessor’s cinematic scope. Far from being a new direction for Weeks, this take on evocative electronica, built around deceptively simple melodies and themes and fuelled with intricate sonic constructions is something he has cultivated throughout his career. If anything, the Bastardize era almost sounds like an incongruity, albeit a very good one, against the polished ambiences of Lost Property.
Even more than its predecessor, Lost Property is a vastly eclectic collection, which spreads from dreamy chill-out and cinematic pieces to sweeping kosmische or gentle psychedelic sequences, yet it feels as if the whole record is bound by a single narrative, each track representing a different chapter of the overall work.
The simple mention of the term ‘chill-out’ in the paragraph above will most probably send the wrong idea about Weeks’ music. We are far from the meaningless coffee table music-by-the-mile which for a time seemed to prevail everywhere from Ibiza to TV ad breaks and trendy bars around the world. Weeks’s compositions are carefully set and assembled, but he is not in the least interested in creating emotionally-charged moments just for effect. His compositions are often understated, especially at the more peaceful end of the scope. Old Blue, Abandoned, Rocking Chair or Where Time Stands Still are not without recalling the lush textural minimalism of early 310, and the artificially-aged tones of Under The Staircase, Memory Ghost or The Sunlight Breaks Through evoke the downbeat melancholia of Boards Of Canada. Elsewhere, Weeks explores more abstract formations. Pieces such as Detached or The Mist Descends appear to float in mid-air as they never quite materialise into a fully-fledged melody, yet there is a definite weight to these which gives them a much stronger grounding than it may first appear.
Elsewhere, Weeks builds up a couple of more electronic-sounding compositions with Glim first, a piece which continuously revolves around the same theme, yet progresses in subtle touches, and later Fireplace, a piece fuelled by rich Tangerine Dream-esque electronic swirls, while the much cooler and restrained closing piece, Diwedd Y Llwybr Troed is reminiscent of some of Vangelis’s more atmospheric work.
While it may not appear as such at first, Lost Property is a pretty ambitious record, but Chris Weeks manages to retain control over it all pretty well throughout. He certainly doesn’t opt for the easy option by bringing so many different strands together, but despite its vast scope, this album proves to be a very consistent and refined collection of electronic music.