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Within the transformations of their meticulous processes, London duo Kassian become a vessel for alchemy: filtering and distilling scores of stems, samples and layers until something richer and more complex than the sum of its parts emerges. Uncomfortable in any solitary genre, and at the midpoint of somewhere unexpected and uncharted, the pair describe their sound as 'almost techno.'
Since their debut release in 2018, Kassian have drifted leftwards into heavier, more abstract territory, harnessing their individual skills for working in the small pockets and painting the whole cloth of the canvas. In their first outing for !K7, "Phase Two EP", the Roland System 1 synth is the throughline as they painstakingly piece together sketches, turning high hats into kick drums, capturing the resonance of percussion and drift further into each other’s heavy-hitting sonic realms.
“X-303” recontextualises the sci-fi inspiration of its name, forging a new style of interstellar acid. A driving kick drum holds steady through a track which oscillates between contrasts: from eerie, suspenseful pads and distorted string sounds, to a minimalistic groove accented with double-time drums and mechanistic pulses. “Tabla” reduces a distinct latin rhythm down to its essence, and is propelled by a thick and distended bass loop. Its hypnotic groove combines the human and the virtual with a glitching vocal sample and the juddering of strummed guitar strings, highlighted by the percussive hits of its namesake instrument.
The pair characterise “Prelude” as 'a Frankenstein kind of monster.' Constructed around a radio sample of a legend of the scene, it is a sleek and incremental gradation of shades, with micro layers from their palette of sounds rising and falling, blending and twisting with no obvious lead or bass. Repurposing the same drums as “X-303”, the EP’s final track “Patterns” was inspired by Kassian’s earliest incarnations of live performances, and it unashamedly captures the peaks of communal moments, rounding out the EP with an epic take on deep and techy house.
Matt says: Electrified stadium ticklers from the Kassian duo. Technologically advanced with lavish, multi-layered production. RIYL: Daniel Avery, Bicep, Two Shell etc.