[sic] Magazine

Konntinent – Degrees & Integers

The last time we heard from Tokyo’s Symbolic Interaction (run by Retail Sectors’ Kentaro Togawa) they issued Rudi Arapahoe’s stunning “Echoes from One to Another”. Antony Harrison, a.k.a Konntinent, is the fellow charged with the unenviable task of following such an outstanding opus and thankfully he’s more than up to the job. The London-based musician confesses a love for Vangelis’ ‘Bladerunner’ soundtrack and its influence is apparent throughout his debut full-length, with more than a passing nod paid to the tranquil atmospherics of that expansive score.

This is no mere Vangelis ‘love-fest’ though, as Konntinent definitely creates a sound he can call his own. Of course, there are also plenty of other influences. “Syckl Cell’s” broken electronics and cut and spliced piano wouldn’t be out of place on a Pan American record, “Grasp of Math’s” forceful double bass and buzzing drones vaguely reminds of The For Carnation, while the narcotic sounds of “Cell Cignas” makes me long for the return of Labradford and the shadowing saxophone here also points to an Arve Henriksen influence. “The Partisan” is the first immediate highlight on “Degrees & Integers” spending several minutes building a pensive atmosphere before adding funeral march percussion, the effect of its mysterious tension is somewhat jarring.

In fact, there’s an unsettling aura threaded throughout this record, though it wouldn’t be unfair to say it’s not without its fair share of moments of beauty – with the ghostly “My Shoulders Are As Wide As Your Hopes Are Heavy” particularly springing to mind. It’s compositions such as “This Searing Heat”, which branches out to the dark cinematic territories marshalled by Deaf Center via a disconcerting air-siren like drone, that reinforces the previous statement. As does “It Was Almost Effortless”, a slow burner propelled by the seductive tones of Brussels-based chanteuse Felicia Atkinson, whose breathy monologue recalls that of Kim Gordon circa “Evol”

“Primary/Tertiary” is a fitting finale. Its mix of discordant droning with an impossibly angelic guitar refrain highlights Konntinent’s key strength perfectly. The ability to dramatically portray two sides of his musical personality in tandem. Light sits side by side with shade, the abstract mingles with the alluring, the degrees, if you will, happily embrace the integers. Harrison has an impressive ability to make it all seem genuine, like he tells us on track number ten, “It Was Almost Effortless”.