A Journal Of The Dark Arts

Kangding Ray – Solens Arc (Raster-Noton)

405a763d73_640_480On Solens Arc, Kangding Ray stops the river of time, takes an axe to the frozen ocean of fashion, breaks with tradition, and creates 4 sound worlds to mesmerize and explore.

A stone thrown, just to watch it fly. A projectile launched for the sole purpose of drawing a ballistic trajectory in the sky. The Solens Arc is what remains after the subtraction of the goal, a simple parabolic curve defined by gravity, impulse and starting angle. No target to hit, no catharsis to wait for, just the beauty of the flight.

– press release

Ever since Simon Reynolds and K-Punk proved, without a shadow of a doubt, the existence of the hardcore continuum, the idea of style and progression has seemed a bit iffy in the electronic music world, if not in all of Popular Music, with the hauntological out-of-whackness of point-and-click instaculture making things just that much more confusing. For the longest time, with dance music, only the latest craze was permissable in the clubs, and playing something besides the current trend would empty the dancefloor. Trip-hop died a slow and miserable death, d&b was shuffled off towards specialist nights where the breakers continued to practice their kung-fu in the shadows, Jungle gradually morphed into something else. Of course, all of these styles would make the inevitable nostalgic revolutions, with current musicians like Burial, Lee Gamble & Zomby making melancholy reflections on The Death Of RAve and all that.

TONY2In the eternal now of the Global Village, we are now experiencing a curious phenomena where it seems that every trend is happening, and you can choose whatever sphere you like to dwell in. This is the feeling I get, when listening to Solens’ Arc, a ballistic trajectory, devoid of goal. Just to see what happens, to trace the arc of its flight.

Solens’ Arc is constructed as 4 independent arcs, four sound worlds to explore and get lost in. It takes you on a journey through neon glittering cities in the dust, knocking pneumatic steamtunnels, castles in the clouds.

While Solens’ Arc may exist in a crystal sphere of its own, that’s not to say it’s out of fashion, as it’s quite timely and up to date. Most of the material sticks to the strong Industrial Techno of recent favour. Kangding Ray has absorbed the ferric bassweight of Emptyset, the broken rhythms and distant rave anthems of Burial, but mixed with the timelessness of William Basinski‘s Distintegration Loops, which glitter like a curtain of flame on, like on ‘L’Envol’. Kangding Ray has assimilated most of our favorite electronic music of the last 10 years, and spun it into a gorgeous whole. I was also reminded of The Stranger’s Watching Dead Empires In Decay, with its peculiar ability to evoke a sense of place, imaginary industrial landscapes to explore, the back alleys of your minds.


While some critical listeners have taken issue with the recent strand of degraded, handmade techno, in this instance i’m glad that Raster-Noton is cracking its hermetically sealed laboratories, and letting in a bit of grit and texture. I, and i’m sure many of you, have been hypnotized and mesmerized by their latter day binaural beats, their aesthetic seemed rooted in the late ’90s/early ’00s digital glitch and microelectronics: a style which seems to be going the way of the pterodactyl, at least with the main movers and grinders of the techno world. I chalk this up to a proliferation of digital audio technology, with it being too easy for anybody to remix, time-stretch, beat repeat and drop key, and then toss it up on SoundCloud for the world to ogle (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

There seems to be a movement in the electronic underworld towards the homespun and the hand-selected, with d&b resurrectionists like Lee Bannonmaking a point of hand-programming his Amen Breaks, the hard-steel sound sculptures of Logos’, or the hardware fucking of Container or Factory Floor. Everything seems perfectly placed and polished to perfection – the bass glistening like mirrored obsidian, the synths flickering like will-o’-the-wisps around yr headspace. A feeling of CARE and CRAFT is rising in electronic music, that is an antidote to greedy corporate product and bland hip-hop muzak.

Very much recommended! Excellent techno. Get lost & explore.

Kangding Ray – Solens Arc


One comment on “Kangding Ray – Solens Arc (Raster-Noton)

  1. Leigh Wright
    March 3, 2014

    I listened to this album yesterday – fucking brilliant, one of the best electronic beat albums I’ve heard for a while, and it’ll be getting many a repeat listen, that’s for sure!

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