This Just In: Motion

About 6 years ago, while checking out some random experimental music podcast, I had a “stop what you’re doing right now and just listen” moment. I was floored by this piece, which I later learned was “Make Haste” by Koen Holtkamp (Also one half of Mountains). What starts of as a seemingly innocuous drone piece actually delivers a wealth of distorted pulses, swelling tonal atmospheres, three-dimensional textures and nuanced guitar throughout its eleven minute progression. The trick is, you have to listen beyond what you think you know. With a common music “consumption” approach, so many people easily dismiss songs within 15-30 seconds, pop and experimental alike. It’s unfortunate, because there might be something you’d find brilliant lying in wait beyond those few seconds. If you’re up for a patient, engaging, revelatory listening experience, check out Holtkamp’s work. His newest, Motion, is now out on Thrill Jockey, who’ve also reissued most of his stunning back-catalog on CD as Motion – Connected Works.

Koen Holtkamp – Motion LP:
Listen/Watch: “Between Visible Things”
“Koen Holtkamp creates music that exists simultaneously in large and small scales. His compositions lend themselves to careful examination, with each sound precisely placed. Holtkamp (who is one-half of Mountains) considers every instrument he uses carefully and pays specific attention to the environment, actual or digital, in which that instrument is being recorded and processed. They also expand and evolve gradually, giving a sense of boundlessness that extends not only to a specific song or album, but also to his discography as a whole. On Motion, Holtkamp plays with these ideas of scale and space, using shifting array of analog, digital and acoustic sources to explore the perceived effect of moving from one dynamic space to another. He excels at coaxing the sublime out of the synthetic, writing music that seems as if it has existed in nature for eons, but can only now be uncovered using modern electronic instrumentation.

While Holtkamp traditionally composes based on material developed during live performances, the first three tracks on Motion were written and realized entirely in the studio. This approach gave him the opportunity to really hone in on each separate instrument individually allowing for a deeper sense of focus and less of a reliance on live sampling and looping. ‘Vert’ features some of the most prominent, even aggressive, use of electric guitar in any of his work. On ‘Crotales’ Holtkamp juxtaposes iridescent analog synths and virtual ‘acoustic’ instruments such as computer generated upright bass and crotales, offering a surreal take on his archetypal approach. The entire b-side is occupied by the sprawling “Endlessness,” a richly textured swell of overlapping drones and chirping synthesizers.

Motion is presented as a stand-alone LP, and is also available as an extended CD release coupled with a second disc of Connected Works, compiling all of Holtkamp’s vinyl-only releases digitally for the first time. This includes Liquid Light Forms (Barge, 2013), Gravity/Bees (Thrill Jockey 2010), and Make Haste (A Room Forever, 2008). Listening to these albums all together only serves to reinforce a direct through line in his solo works, his techniques and timbral palate evolving as steadily and gradually as the pieces themselves.” -Thrill Jockey

koen-holtkamp-motion

In motion – new releases, reissues and restocks…
Air – Moon Safari LP
Amy Winehouse – Lioness: Hidden Treasures 2LP
Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavillion 2LP; Sung Tongs 2LP
A Tribe Called Quest –Midnight Marauders LP; The Low End Theory 2LP
Bardo Pond – Refulgo 2LP
Belle And Sebastian – If You’re Feeling Sinister LP; The Boy With The Arab Strap LP
Big Scary – Not Art LP
Boards Of Canada – Music Has The Right To Children 2LP
Bob Marley – Soul Rebel LP
Bob Marley & The Wailers – Exodus LP
Bonobo – North Borders 2LP; Black Sands 2LP
Brian Eno – Lux 2LP
Burial – Kindred 12”
Charles Bradley – Victim Of Love LP; No Time For Dreaming LP
Chicago Underground Duo – Locus LP
Chuck Ragan – Til Midnight LP
Chvrches – Bones Of What You Believe LP, CD
Cibo Matto – Hotel Valentine LP
Cocteau Twins – Stars And Topsoil: A Collection 2LP
Daughters – s/t LP
Dean Wareham – s/t LP
Death Grips – Money Store LP
Decemberists – The Hazards Of Love 2LP
Deerhunter – Halcyon Digest LP
De La Soul – 3 Ft. High And Rising 2LP
Depeche Mode – A Broken Frame LP; Construction Time Again LP; Songs Of Faith And Devotion LP; Ultra LP; Violator LP
Descendents – Milo Goes To College LP
DJ Shadow – Endtroducing LP
Elbow – The Take Off And Landing Of Everything 2LP
Electrelane – The Power Out LP
Faint – Doom Abuse Deluxe 2LP
Flying Lotus – Until The Quiet Comes 2LP
Future Islands – Singles LP, CD
Golden Retriever – Seer LP
Gorillaz – Plastic Beach 2LP
Green Day – Dookie LP
Habibi – s/t LP
Hold Steady – Teeth Dreams 2LP
Horseback – Piedmont Apocrypha LP
Howler – World Of Joy LP
John Coltrane – Coltrane LP; Giant Steps LP
Kanye West – College Dropout 2LP; Late Registration 2LP
Kendrick Lamar – Good Kid 2LP
King Krule – 6 Feet Beneath The Moon 2LP
Lavender Country – s/t LP
Liars – Mess 2LP, CD
Machinedrum – Vapor City 2LP; Fernis District 12”
Merchandise – Begging For Your Life 12”
Miles Davis – ‘Round About Midnight LP; Sketches Of Spain LP
Misfits – s/t LP
My Bloody Valentine – MBV LP
National – Trouble Will Find Me 2LP
NOFX – Heavy Petting Zoo LP; Punk In Drublic LP; So Long And Thanks For All The Shoes LP
Outkast – Aquemini 3LP
Pavement – Slanted & Enchanted LP
Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here LP
Purity Ring – Shrines LP
Queens Of The Stone Age – …Like Clockwork 2LP
Real Estate – Atlas LP
SBTRKT – s/t LP
Sleep – Dopesmoker 2LP
Snoop Doggy Dogg – Doggystyle LP
Sun Kil Moon – Benji 2CD
Sun O)))/ Ulver – Terrestrials LP
Talking Heads – More Songs About Buildings & Food LP
Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane – s/t LP
Vampire Weekend – Contra LP; Modern Vampires Of The City LP
Various – Bossa Nova Vol. 2 2LP
Various – Chicago Soul 2LP
Various – Studio One Ska Fever 2LP
Tom Waits – Swordfishtrombones LP
William Onyeabor – World Psychedelic Classics Vol. 5: Who Is William Onyeabor? 3LP
Wooden Shjips – Back To Land LP
xx – s/t LP; Coexist LP
Yo La Tengo – Fade LP