WITH twin bases straddling that most musically inventive of cities, Berlin, and the Kenyan capital of Nairobi, electronica artist KMRU knows a thing or two about wide vistas, a far-sighted reach, a breathtaking approach to soundscaping; as you can hear in his first single drop for his new home, Injazero Records, “OT”. Wrap your cortex around that particular glimmer below.
It goes by way of aural announcement of his first album for the label, Logue, a compilation drawing on years of self-released works that’ll be out on May 14th.
“OT” is quite the way to say hello; a wide-open landscape of chattering bells, an ecosystem of other deft, nuanced electronic garlanding, partially somehow flesh, you feel; joyous calls, off in the distance; off-kilter polyrhythms skittering past from right to left, and combining with the underlying synths to suggest propulsion without insisting on it. There’s an almost Basic Channel thing at work, the implied beat never overriding the floating swirl above.
Joseph Kamaru, the artist behind KMRU, draws on that huge German ambient tradition and brings African influences through field recordings from Kenya and adjoining East African states, lending a bright lushness to his clean, spatial works.
It was only last year that Joseph began to release physical albums worldwide, with a trio of longform drops including Peel, for Editions Mego; Opaquer, for Michigan’s Dagoretti, and the cassette-only Jar, for Frankfurt’s Seil Records.
His gradually unfolding sonic landscapes are always playing off that other atmosphere of field recordings, allowing his Kenyan culture not just to shine through but to marry and twine with a standing ambient canon.
“Every track reflects an event, space or location,” he says. “The pieces are developed from field recordings, improvisation and spontaneity.”
Logue is comprised of tracks tracks written between 2017 and 2019. Some of the earliest compositions found therein, such as 2017’s “Jinja Encounters”, represent Joseph’s first trips outside his homeland and the experience of new sights and new climates, full of discovery and wonder. From what we’ve heard already here at Backseat Mafia, Logue is a complex journey into sound – the best sort, full of popping and bubbling, deeper static, melodies and suggestions of rhythm weaving in and out; it’s full of life.
KMRU’s Logue will be released by Injazero Records digitally and on vinyl on May 14th, and is available to pre-order from the label shop, here.