Lee Gamble, Koch

Andy Battaglia

By Andy Battaglia

on 09.12.14 in Reviews

Lee Gamble’s Koch opens with a slow-motion swell of vaporous gasps, like the deep breathing of a person meditating or the last respiratory acts of a body on its way out. It’s calm and a little bit creepy, certainly expectant in a way that makes one wonder where the rest of the ensuing album will go. With Gamble, it’s hard to say. As one of the reputation-making artists on the feted electronic-music label PAN, he has flitted between old-school rave and future-shock techno, all with a jilted, radicalized approach known to turn jungle tunes into ambient anthems and simple club beats into causes for contemplation.

An erratic, everything-goes album

Koch is erratic. After the mesmerizing opener, “Motor System” hits the road with a driving, propulsive beat full of thudding kicks and clattering hi-hats. Strange sine waves and sloshes of noise hover over top, covering everything but never quite settling down. After that cataclysm, “You Concrete” goes gaseous — its ambient waves broken up only by a lone, mysterious sample of a voice saying, “What you’ve got is a whole miserable subculture.” Is he talking about dance music, a seeming Eden of euphoria and excess? Probably, but who knows.

“Nueme” marks a patient in-between state, with the metabolism of an ambient track but a steady accrual of percussion (cymbal taps, hand claps, etc.) that makes it rhythmic by the end. From there it’s everything-goes, from the intense strobing club rub of “HMix” to the twitchy IDM paroxysms of “Voxel City Spirals” to the experimental inner-ear sound effects of “Ornith-Mimik.” That examples of such range make any sort of sense in such close proximity suggests Gamble has a mind worthy of bringing them all together.