Kangding Ray Monad XI (Stroboscopic Artefacts) Kangding Ray is the respected French artist David Letellier, known for his releases on the Raster- Noton label.
He integrates field recordings, so-called “real” instruments and other non-electronic sources to produce work that is complex and cerebral but doesn’t share the phobia of linearity and the dancefloor demonstated by many electronica producers.
Monad XI is the latest in the Stroboscopic Arfects label’s ongoing experimental series and marks a further development in the label’s thoughtful aesthetics. Besides the sonic precision and faultless construction you’d expect from a Raster-Noton artist, the aspect that’s most striking here is the muscularity of the sounds.
It’s danceable but very harsh.
‘Cercle’ kicks in with heavy percussive on/off impacts offset by swarms of fine details before the bass forces its way through the mix and marks out its territory. Ever-intensifying drones enhance the tension, propelling the track further forwards. The harshest track is ‘Thar’, which opens up in assault mode and stays there. It’s danceable but very harsh. Filtered scything frequencies compete with urgent heavy percussion that builds until the five minute mark when it drops away to an extended and sinister fade.
‘Oise’ is far more introspective, but only relatively. There’s a repeated ominous bass tone that repeatedly forces itself out of the mix. In tone it’s similar to some of Plastikman’s Consumed-era material. It gradually builds momentum through compressed, filtered handclaps high up in the mix.
The closing track ‘Isib’ is brighter and more optimistic but is based around a repeated and almost tangible impact that somehow sounds like it’s coming from outside the track. This is as futuristic or at least as hyper-contemporary as it’s possible for anything to sound nowadays. The release matches the high standards of Stroboscopic Artefacts and demonstrates the continued potential of radical electronics to open up new sonic spaces.