One definition of the arcane word Kith is a ‘group of people who form a cohesive group’. It’s no surprise then that the third release on the Freerotation label features artists who are closely associated with the annual festival in Wales. The split release follows on from records on the Freerotation label from Juju & Jordash as well as newcomer Monoak, whose Resolute is a must for anyone with an interest in wayward house.
Due to the highly personalised nature of its connections, one of the strengths of the festival, and now by default its label extension, lies in its abilities to elicit unusual or alternative performances and material from established artists. Surgeon, who previously performed an ambient set at Freerotation, delivers the low-tempo “Unconscious, Fearless Determination” on Kith. Released under his real name, it sees the author in a more reflective mood than usual, as frazzled percussion and an abstract rhythm accompany brooding soundscapes, like clusters of stars streaking at intervals across the night sky.
Another close Freerotation associate, Duckett, maintains the introspective mood, albeit more unassumingly, on “Breaks My Heart When I Remember That Day”. Gentle percussive ticks and lazy bass stabs underpin breathy melodies and soft-focus keyboard playing, the ideal accompaniment to wandering through dew-laden fields. Tom Ellis’ contribution takes a similar yet more dancefloor friendly approach. “As A Take” tacks swirling ambient shapes and layered vocal samples onto an understated dubby groove.
The most blatant dancefloor track comes from festival organiser Steevio with “Pendulum”. While not as linear as his Mindtours output, its mechanical, modular rhythm, tight tribal drums and tonal shifts up and down the frequency spectrum will have greater DJ impact than all of the other tracks. Freerotation’s organisers deserve praise for releasing music that is impervious to hype or limitations, much like the festival itself.
A1. Anthony Child – Unconscious Fearless Determination
A2. Duckett – Breaks My Heart When I Remember That Day
B1. Steevio – Pendulum
B2. Tom Ellis – As A Take