Kutin – Ivory
By: Tim Clarke
The first half of Ivory holds me aloft like a leaf on the breeze, tickles me silly with modulation and distortion, breathes sweet melodic nothings in my ear, then lowers me back down to earth. I wait, leaning hungrily into the speaker to hear what comes next – but the spell is broken. For the first 25 minutes, from ‘Elsewhere’ to ‘Storb’, I’m rapt. For this reason alone, Ivory is well worth a listen.
This is Vienna-based guitarist and sound manipulator Peter Kutin‘s third album, and his first on the Valeot imprint. The man’s a bit of a wizard with this sort of stuff. Ivory comes across like early Tim Hecker or Fennesz – granular and fractured, flying apart in slow motion. You can appreciate the arcs the pieces trace in their passage through dense, warped air. These aren’t songs as such; more like sounds crushed and smeared into gestures. ‘World Without End’ is a rave heard through a wall that absorbs beats. ‘After The Plague’ is a delicate acoustic guitar ballad eaten by digital mites.
The second half, comprising just two tracks (‘Sombre’ and ‘Lonesome Monster’), breaks the spell, interrupts the flow, comes across like another release entirely. Sounds are brought into the fray that irk rather than soothe, whether the nasal string samples of ‘Sombre’ or the robotic munching at the start of ‘Lonesome Monster’. The flow of each piece is stretched beyond 10 minutes, with insufficient melodic or textural meat to sink your ear-teeth into.
For the most part, though, Ivory is a splendid drift through the kinds of soundscapes that refuse to sit still and be loved – they’re too busy dissipating beautifully, like dust in the wind.