El Kid “Labyrinths EP”

09 Nov 2012 — Henning Lahmann

When I interviewed Seb Gainsborough aka Vessel a while ago, he told me that considering his tracks as etudes or sketches would be an appropriate assessment of his work. Apart from himself, this seems to be a pretty common approach among the whole Young Echo crew. Rather than delivering polished, re-considered results every other day, most members seem to prefer the raw and deliberately unfinished, producing tracks that at some point are left alone in order to provide opportunities for further development, for continued evolution in a live setting or in a process of cross-fertilisation within the collective itself.

In that way it makes perfect sense that the Young Echo people appear to have found a new channel for their seemingly boundless creative urge, the strictly tape-only label No Corner, which is shrouded in mystery but is allegedly run by friends of the crew in Bristol. After a split between J a b u and Killing Sound and "a 40 minute sonic bricolage of golden era grime pieced together by Kahn and Neek", NC003 is set to drop very soon, and it's another reminder of the young musicians' convincing agenda. Labyrinths is a roughly 26 minute transmission by Sam Kidel aka El Kid, collecting a couple of cuts coming fresh from the collective's sonic laboratories. In line with said concept, it's hard to detect a common, connecting theme among the tape's gloomy, noise-laden movements. It's certainly an effort not meant for dancing around all night, with the possible exception of b-side track "We Need Mirrors", but rather for intellectual contemplation, providing some hints at what would be possible if necessary or really intended. In that sense, the approach feels almost inevitable in a year in which a lot of people who should know --Rory Gibb and Jamie Teasdale chiefly among them-- have lamented over a critical over-saturation and at the same time the lack of an overarching narrative in contemporary electronic music. El Kid's Labyrinths, just like the music by Young Echo as a whole, probably won't be of any immediate help here, but for now, that might be exactly the point.

Below, listen to two cuts taken from the cassette, a-side tracks "Labyrinths" and "Mercury", and "Quixote" and the mentioned "We Need Mirrors" from side b.

Labyrinths is out very soon via No Corner. Watch this space.