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Kas - Like Sunlit Threads Music Album Reviews

Kas - Like Sunlit Threads Music Album Reviews
Departing from the high-impact electro of his Galaxian alias, Scottish producer Mark Kastner explores more contemplative strains of ambient and IDM.

Not three minutes into Like Sunlit Threads, the Scottish producer Mark Kastner tells us he’s disappearing. Amid the hum of rainforest fauna, his voice pitched down, he describes feeling as though he’s “turning to smoke” and becoming “the faint wisp of a cloud.” The words come from the Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh’s diary Fragrant Palm Leaves, which sometimes makes nothingness sound less like a blissful state of mind than a weird holiday from yourself. Perhaps this is the trip Kastner has in mind. His previous music, under his Galaxian alias, has been anything but meditative. On EPs like Blowback and NU-1000, a 2016 collaboration with DJ Stingray, Galaxian established a high-impact electro sound of face-rippling speed and intensity; he performs in a fighter pilot’s helmet, and his music often mimics an especially risky set of barrel rolls and nosedives. On Like Sunlit Threads he adopts a new alias, Kas, and gives us something more varied, and far more subtle: a nihilist’s guide to mindfulness.
This idea is most clearly expressed across the album’s ambient passages. On tracks like “Last Silence,” a cyberpunk-adjacent air of lowlife gloom mingles with spiritual yearning. In a similar mode, “Outwardly Attaching,” a piece suffused in stargazing awe (and unlikely French horn) emits campfire warmth. But a spike of anxiety is never far away. In “Self-Aware Field Pt. 1,” slo-mo nausea crescendos with murder-hornet strings; “Pt 2” guides a queasy sinewave tone toward a frozen summit of glassy keys and stern bass chords. These austere, suspenseful pieces are reminiscent of Andrei Tarkovsky’s mystic atmospheres. The railroad chug of “Last Silence” brings to mind this scene from the 1979 film Stalker, which also happens to illustrate a transition from one world to another.

Writing in Fragrant Palm Leaves, Hanh describes encountering a moment of clarity as a “battlefield,” the site of a struggle for personal growth between his old and new selves. Listening to Like Sunlit Threads, you could say Kastner loves the fight as much as the revelation. “Holographic Matrix of Information Totality,” a beat maze of vulcanized surfaces and coil-sprung percussion, is a great example of Kastner’s typically morose yet thrill-seeking sound, a sort of doom funk that could also describe a kindred spirit like Christoph De Babalon. But similar tracks on Like Sunlit Threads are, notably, a notch down from the ultra-manic likes of Galaxian’s “Glasgow to Detroit”—a standout on Helena Hauff’s Kern mix of last year—whose car horns and bumper-crimping pile-ups suggested a rough commute for everyone except a Gumball Rally driver.

On the excellent “Mystery Beyond Mystery,” Kastner sounds inspired by the chance to shift down a gear. Where the track’s god-ray pads and needlepoint pulse might normally prime an explosive breakdown, Kastner simply lets all that pent-up energy leak. There are other surprises, too. From “In the Absence of Becoming” on, Kastner dapples the music with a guarded optimism, if not happiness. That track’s glazed digi-string harmonies, especially, suggest a close-to-nature spirit redolent of fellow Scots like Boards of Canada or Firecracker Records. And “Deeply Rooted Peace” is a real beauty, with more Hanh-sourced monologue echoing over oneiric chords that rise and swirl like a flock of starlings. On this tender capstone to Like Sunlit Threads, Kastner sounds at home in a gentler kind of oblivion.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Kas - Like Sunlit Threads Music Album Reviews Kas - Like Sunlit Threads Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Friday, March 05, 2021 Rating: 5

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