Kel McKeown has been releasing music as Kelpe for over a decade, ranging from shuffling proto-beat scene instrumentals to hardy analogue-kraut grooves. On his fifth album, McKeown strikes a balance between the electronic and the organic, where loose, live sounds gel alongside grubby electro basslines. The Curved Line is an accomplished record that shows McKeown to be a musician who has a clear mastery of his own sound, but who is also still willing to push that sound in new directions. It’s also an album pays clear attention to sequencing and trajectory, and should be listened to as a body of work rather than as a collection of tracks. ‘Doubles of Everything’ builds slowly before erupting into a deeply satisfying pay-off by its end, while live drummer Chris Walmsley gives ‘Canjealous’ a slack feel. Ambient interlude ‘Morning Two’ provides one of the album’s most exploratory moments, but the driving and percussive ‘Valerian’ injects enough grit and hardness to keep things from getting too indulgent. What’s most striking about The Curved Line is how McKeown manages to make the record sound freeform and animated, all while exhibiting a microscopic attention to detail.
Bleep exclusive CD format, hand-numbered limited to 50