[sic] Magazine

Kontakte – Soundtracks To Lost Road Movies

More effects-laden, electronically charged instrumental rock music here (I think the kids call it post-rock). If, like me, you believe this old, tired scene is in desperate need of a shot in the arm, then you’re unlikely to find any answers on this debut outing from London-based three-piece Kontakte. Named in homage to the Stockhausen piece which fittingly referenced the connection between instrumental and electronic sound groups, Kontakte construct a solid soup of sound borrowing the expansive guitar sonics of Mogwai and earning credit with their ability to mix it all with some nice Kraftwerkian beats.

“Soundtracks…” is a heavily textured record and these boys certainly know their way around the dynamics of the whole instrumental movement, throwing in a few Krautrock influences along the way. Both “Life’s Road Movies” and “Sterile World” pack one hell of a robust punch, with the latter sounding as apocalyptic as its Hiroshima bombings subject matter. The elegant “Ghosts of Electricity” adds a smidgen of variety too, starting beautifully with twinkling keys before clustering into a demented mélange of distortion and electronics.

Things don’t run so smoothly elsewhere though and the lack of real, ‘live’ percussion soon begins to grate. “Motorik” sounds weak, coming across like a left-over from Death In Vegas’ “Contino Sessions”, while the epic-shoegaze strains of both “Two and a Half Thousand Miles” and “Pacific Coast Highway” have been done to death by several hundred bands and better, with Italians Port-Royal immediately springing to mind.

In comparison to fellow Kraut aficionados Svartbag, Kontakte are rather limp. Svartbag’s sound is gargantuan, almost volcano-sized that you can see it, taste it even. It motors along like a snarling, dangerous Harley Davidson obliterating anything that comes across its path. “Soundtracks…” on the other hand, is more like a Ford Focus; safe, reliable, but ultimately doesn’t particularly stand out.

The six remixes tagged on at the end prove that there is plenty of room for advancement within Kontakte’s template. Electric Loop Orchestra turn “Ghosts of Electricity” on its head, detonating with an instant blast of furious bleeps, beats and buzz. Polysicness’ re-working of “Sterile World” is excellent too, calibrating intricate, inventive beats in a style that certainly leaves food for thought as to the future direction for Kontakte.