On second album Kaiku, Finnish minimal electro producer Kiki (Joakim Ijäs) took a step away from club-friendly music and more toward an insular, late night brand of minimal techno, suited for either nightcaps or all-nighters. That isn’t to say it’s not danceable—it certainly is. But minimal techno and microhouse, more so than any other electronic genres, carry with them enough hypnotic detachment that they sometimes seem a bit more distant and antisocial than disco or house. Take The Field’s recent Yesterday and Today, for instance, which is simultaneously funky and more spacious than its predecessor. This, however, falls more squarely in the spacious camp.
With Kaiku, however, Kiki balances low-key downtempo numbers with slightly more upbeat tracks, maintaining a chill afterparty vibe, that afterparty likely being in one’s own apartment. First track “Autumn Leaves” is a soothing yet stimulating track that balances flashing synths and whooshing white noise, making for a confusing but pleasure-inducing sensory experience. “After the Storm,” meanwhile is more understated, shuffling along with sparse melodies and percussive effects. “Good Voodoo” loops Chela Simone’s vocals over a haunting mix of danceable and downright eerie synths, while “No Words Necessary” beams down handclaps and some fun Atari effects. “Immortal” shows off some echo effects, which is only fitting, as `kaiku’ actually translates to `echo,’ in Finnish. And “Twins,” one of the album’s more upbeat tracks, has a disjointed harmony and some truly unsettling spoken word bits that just might give you the heebie jeebies before that last cocktail knocks you out.
Kaiku is a dance record, but not explicitly so. Its beats don’t intrude and its basslines don’t meddle. The 11 tracks that Kiki weaves in and out of here make for some aurally appealing stuff, however, and should you feel the urge to dance, just a little bit, Kaiku can accommodate.
Ellen Allien – SOOL
The Field – From Here We Go Sublime
Apparat – Walls
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.