Boring Machines Disturbs Sleep: Keser : "Esoteric Escape" (Alex Tronic Records)

Boring Machines Disturbs Sleep

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Keser : "Esoteric Escape" (Alex Tronic Records)

One of the main reasons for starting this blog was to find and help promote great Scottish music. Although I have posted on a handful of acts already, I thought it was time to step it up a gear. First up is Keser, who were recommended to me by New York based blog I Work At Initech.

I am preplexed at how I managed to let a band such as Keser slip under my radar, and it took an American based blogger to point them in my direction. The Edinburgh based duo create a sound that masses together the intesity of Mogwai, Boards of Canada style synths and inventive programming. They also share some similarities with Glasgow based Errors.

"Esoteric Escape" was released in late August through Scottish indie label Alex Tronic, and is a thoroughly enjoyable affair. It kicks off with the pulsing keys of "FM Rocker", before their electronica influences come to the fore after a minute or so with glitchy beats forcing their way into the mix.

"4 Cycles" continues this trend, although this time it contains a more prominent guitar melody that gives an almost Four Tet aura. However, the duo show they are a big fan of shoegazer bands such as My Bloody Valentine as a huge wall of guitar distortion hits around the 3 minute mark. The track ends with crazy Aphex style programming.

The first real highlight occurs on the fifth track, "In The Next Beginning". Starting with obscured and intertwined vocal samples, the duo portray a satisfying ability of combining euphoric synths, huge wall-of-sound guitars and solid chunky beats.

Being form Scotland, it is hard for bands not to be influenced by what has gone before them. Keser have certainly studied the dynamics of bands such as Mogwai and Aerogramme, but also retain their own identity.

"Rolling V2" would be more at home on a Boards Of Canada album than a Mogwai release, while "Frozen Fireworks" is introduced with pounding Rich Hawtin-esque beats and a sample of someone talking in A Scottish accent, that is a lot less harsher than my Glaswegian dialect.

Again the duo mix those strings, beats and guitars to great effect. If anybody knows, n5md artist, Bitcrush they will know what I am talking about. "Frozen Fireworks" would have been my favourite track on the album, if it wasn't for the next one.

"Destination:Destiny" immediately made me take notice as soon as I heard it. This one I recommend playing at full volume to get the greatest impact. It is a slow-burner (around four minutes of build up) but it is well worth the wait. As mammoth sounding guitars are unleashed around after the 4 minutes . It is as forceful as anything Mogwai have ever recorded and is certainly one of those 'hair on the back' of the neck moments.

Things are toned down slightly for the remaining three tracks. Album closer, "Kontrol/ Kaos" is an apt name for the track, as it starts calmly beofre descending into the chaos of those signature guitars.

"Esoteric Escape" is an album that can be listened to with headphones (where you will hear the intircate programming and subtle vocal samples) or you can also play it at full volume to annoy the neighbours with huge distorted guitar chords. Either way you will get a lot from Keser. A welcome edition to the scottish music scene.
You can catch Keser live at Bannermans, Edinburgh on November 11th.

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