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Mikroknytes - live_src

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Artist: Mikroknytes

Album: live_src

Label: Crank Automotive

Review date: Apr. 4, 2004

Intense electronic drone, Live_SRC subjects the listener through a kaleidoscope of emotions with a wide variety of textures both calamitous and subtle in settings both interstellar and subterranean. Live_SRC is about as linear as a painting by Jackson Pollock and as comforting as a 5-year-old lost overnight in a theme park. This recording is best experienced on a good sound system with the volume turned up as loud as the listener can handle to appreciate the undulations and cosmic sweeps.

The Mikroknytes are duo Derek Morton and John Coursey, who both process electronic sounds to the nth degree while the latter drags violin notes through effects pedals to add an organic element to what otherwise might be a pure electronic cosmos. Each track instills a strong emotional mood as well a distinct sense of setting to impress the listener with vivid mental pictures.

“Valentia” leaves an interstellar impression with vast, comet-like rushes piercing through a white noise vacuum as if documenting a cosmic cataclysm. This continues into “Hex” which morphs into purer drone with oscillating currents that grow ecstatic; a rosary uttered by machines in reverence to its maker.

On “W.E.K.” and “Artstace” the setting takes a more subterranean and unsettling turn. The electronics are reduced to a murmur accompanied by a mechanical chatter submerged in a dense reverb haze. These effects lend a cavernous impression, accompanied by dismal violin drones. A disconcerting air ensues, as if the Mikroknytes were wandering through a network of dimly lit bomb shelter tunnels while atomic war raged above. “Xeh” provides the most distinct industrial textures with its automated assembly line repetitions and mechanical movements.

“Capesound” flees the bleak surroundings, reasserting smoother drone textures that bear similarities to fluttering Middle Eastern wind instruments, almost in celebratory gesture. This occurs amidst a billowing rush of layered electric violin tones.

The closing tracks, “Amelioride” and “ec” take a more sonorous turn with breathtakingly beautiful, yet mournful violin that lends a nice contrast to the electronic vacuum. “ec” dissolves the contents of the CD into a void of ambience with glimmering electronic murmurs that are like particles form a ruined world sucked into an ever-growing vortex.

One of the wonderful qualities of the Mikroknytes is their ability to convey emotion as varied as the textures they exude, from brooding to euphoric along with the vast territory in between. It is mystifying how such jumbled and cluttered sounds can have such pleasing overtones no matter how shadowy the emotions become.

By I Khider

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