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AAA Music | 19 June 2024

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Kontakte – We Move Through Negative Spaces

| On 11, Apr 2011

Interesting gets a lot of bad press these days. Interesting is “dull”, interesting is “pretentious”, interesting is what happens when a previously promising rock n roll band listens to Kid A a few too many times and decides “I can do that too!” And in most cases it is entirely justified, in most cases interesting music is music that is created with only that intention in mind, to challenge the head and forsake the heart for critical acclaim that is most likely not going to come there way, because for something to be interesting in the best ways possible it has to challenge both, this is something that London based collective Kontakte, have recognised in spades on their sophomore effort. Delivering a record that is at once brain meltingly clever and heart meltingly beautiful.

Make no mistake, at 8 tracks clocking in at just under an hour, this is a record that demands patience that some potential listeners, perhaps understandably, might not have. 10 minute string assisted ambient soundscapes are not everyone’s proverbial cup of tea but the soundscape in question, closing track The Ocean Between You And Me, has more melancholia and sheer emotion in a single Johnny Marr-esque guitar chime than most bands can sum up in their most overly-sincere acoustic song. Ah yes. The Guitar. It’s not that much of a stretch to call this album one of the best guitar albums of the year, it’ll certainly appeal to those who think Johnny Marr is god incarnate and those who think that Kevin Shields is, most tracks are build around chiming, arpeggiated intros before rushing into loud, distorted screes that somehow adds to the haunting beauty rather than jerks you out of the trance the track has no doubt worked you into.

That said, the undoubted highlight is penultimate track Every Passing Hour, by far the shortest track at just over 3 minutes, it is the antithesis of the rest of the album, musically, featuring only acoustic guitar, violin and piano, and because of that it’s subtle, intimate and nigh on profoundly affecting. The latter description could be extended to encompass the whole of this extraordinary album, never has something so defiantly un-commercial sounded so beautiful, when I say that We Move Through Negative Spaces is interesting, I mean it in the sense that I want to know more about it, I want to listen to it over and over again to find out just how it’s put together, I want to be able to hear all the subtleties that I’ve no doubt missed. I want to know every inch of it. And that is something I can say about very few records.

Author: Will Howard