Klute
(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )

Casual Bodies , 6/10
Fear Of People , 5/10
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Klute (not the Leaether Strip project) is an American-born Englishman by the real name of Tom Withers who debuted in a skate-punk band, the Stupids, that released three albums. In the mid 1990s he found his true mission and began releasing the singles that would define modern drum'n'bass: F.P.O.P., Right or Wrong, New Form Of Life, Leo Nine, Laser, Perceptron/Illuminated, Silent Weapons. The EP Total Self (Certificate, 1998) was the first attempt at turning that sound into more than dance material (Hang-Up and Blow Cold can hardly be defined jungle) and the album Casual Bodies (Certificate, 1998) bridged his art of intricate beats, techno locomotives, deep basslines and psychotic arrangements (Faceless, Totem) with otherworldy neurosis (the heavily distorted Secret Love) and eerie atmospheres (Blood Rich, Out Of Silence).

Phone Call and Moving Finger are the standout tracks on second album Fear Of People (Certificate, 2000). in 1993 After four years at Certificate 18, Tom released the debut KLUTE longplayer, 'Casual Bodies.' The album extended on the singles, coupling a complex blend of sounds sourced from the vaults of Detroit Techno with complex beat programming, which worked with as opposed to pulling against the atmospherics. The resulting level headed feel allowed the more unusual tracks to leap from the system with liquid agility, abstract sounds built into molten landscapes of percussion. Adds Tom; "Casual Bodies is a reference to the mass of people out there without referring to them as individuals. For me and my musical background I feel that the first album is often the burning one - tearing it out of the garage and getting that fury out of you and once completed it is almost as though you're free to expand and develop what you are doing a lot further." He feels his recently completed second album, 'Fear of People,' is quite different from the first. "It's difficult for me to offer a perception of this one as I'm still settling on it, other than I am more relaxed with what I'm doing and feel able to do more on the musical side of things." In explaining the curious title he adds, "Again it's not necessarily a negative or paranoid thought, more two fingers to the pretentiousness which seems to accompany a lot of the dance music scene and an observation of the reluctance of a lot of people to take their music a step further. The real reason behind the title is to reflect what seems to be a prevalence of fear in modern day living, whether that's a fear of crime or missed opportunities and we almost encourage ourselves to be equipped with this fear. I wanted to move away from that and adopt a deeper and emotional outlook within my music. I think a lot of people have been turned off by certain elements of drum & bass, and I would hope that 'Fear of People' demonstrates a side of the music which doesn't exclude anyone and shows that there is still much that can be done within the genre." This is demonstrated in the album, with the introduction of vocals acting to further humanize the electronics while the instrumental material is as focused as ever with multi faceted rhythm sections balanced by melancholic low end and thoughtful melodic leads. From skate punk to the "intimate terrorism" of Drum 'n' Bass! From the earliest recordings to his forthcoming second album for Certificate 18, the sound of Klute has remained at the cutting edge of drum & bass for close to a decade. Tom Withers, the production force behind the project, fuses elements of techno with intricate beats and emotive arrangements to form a distinct hybrid. Although now eclipsed by his work as Klute, Tom's induction to the music industry came in the eighties with his role in the notorious skate punk band The Stupids however, after three albums, ever-increasing attention got the better of the band and they split. Following the break up Tom took some time out to travel around the US, where he first discovered "electronic" music, as he explains. "I started listening to a hell of a lot of techno, but when I came into it all of the strands were pretty much lumped together so that if you went out you would hear anything from Belgian rave to progressive house." "Becoming involved in the music was never a calculated move, more something which just ended up happening. I bought a drum machine but found that I was more interested in having my own sounds and it seemed a logical step to buy a sampler - I haven't really picked up the guitar since." On returning to England in 1993 he settled in Ipswich, with his early material surfacing on Deep Red although it was his recordings under the Klute pseudonym (the word has aesthetically pleased me since I was a child, he laughs) at Certificate 18 that brought widespread attention. Already enjoying considerable success with artists such as Photek and Digital, the label suited Tom's techno influences. His singles have stretched the genre, with the eerie, deep space maneuvers of "Total Self" contrasted against the seminal "Leo Nine", which captured the essence of Speed with delicate synth constructs propelled by tumbling percussives and an unforgettably deep bassline. "I've tended to just do what I do and not think too heavily about the concepts behind it," says Tom. "It's those times when I'm lost in the space of a track that it really starts happening for me. Different things please different minds, but it is the challenge of making something new and avoiding things that are perhaps too obvious or familiar that keeps me interested. I listen to quite a wide variety of music but have always tended to be quite marginal; outside looking in - so a science fiction feel for me is more abstract than buzzing computers and dark sounds. I'm very much into portraying an image, but try to present that image in a distorted manner so a track or a title could mean any one of many things. I guess my music isn't the easiest to get into, and if I had to provide a description it would be as intimate terrorism, in that I try go out of my way to stretch the expectations of music." After four years at Certificate 18, Tom released the debut Klute long player, Casual Bodies. The album extended on the singles, coupling a complex blend of sounds sourced from the vaults of Detroit techno with complex beat programming, which worked with as opposed to pulling against the atmospherics. The resulting level headed feel allowed the more unusual tracks to leap from the system with liquid agility, abstract sounds built into molten landscapes of percussion. Adds Tom: "Casual Bodies is a reference to the mass of people out there without referring to them as individuals. For me and my musical background I feel that the first album is often the burning one tearing it out of the garage and getting that fury out of you and once completed it is almost as though you're free to expand and develop what you are doing a lot further." He feels his recently completed second album, Fear of People, is quite different from the first. "It's difficult for me to offer a perception of this one as I'm still settling on it, other than I am more relaxed with what I'm doing and feel able to do more on the musical side of things." In explaining the curious title he adds, "Again, its not necessarily a negative or paranoid thought, more two fingers to the pretentiousness which seems to accompany a lot of the dance music scene and an observation of the reluctance of a lot of people to take their music a step further. The real reason behind the title is to reflect what seems to be a prevalence of fear in modern day living, whether that's a fear of crime or missed opportunities, and we almost encourage ourselves to be equipped with this fear. I wanted to move away from that and adopt a deeper and emotional outlook within my music. I think a lot of people have been turned off by certain elements of drum & bass, and I would hope that Fear of People demonstrates a side of the music which doesn't exclude anyone and shows that there is still much that can be done within the genre." This is demonstrated in the album, with the introduction of vocals acting to further humanize the electronics, while the instrumental material is as focused as ever with multi faceted rhythm sections balanced by melancholic low end and thoughtful melodic leads. "To me drum & bass is a form of music which has always been out on a limb and the tracks that have shocked me are those that have expanded on what went before them," explains Tom. "Whether that's people using the technology in ways that you're not supposed to or just turning around sounds in different ways. As far as I am concerned people taking chances is the future and I would like to think that my material falls into that category." Essential Klute "Leo 9" - Klute (Certificate 18) "Future Paranoia EP" - Override (Octopus) "Burnt Offerings" - Phume (SSR) "Tribunal" - Klute (Certificate 18) "Breakers/Depattern" - Spectre (Partisan) More Klute: www.kluteproductions.co.uk E-Mail This Story to A Friend Print this page READER RANTS AND RAVES (You must be logged in to add your own comments!) FunKeyJ said on 11/18/2000 04:23 AM ...

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