Review Summary: Although a pretty solid release containing some very beautiful moments it is hindered by its blandness and repetitiveness in places. For the band's second release it follows the usual post-rock formula just a little too closely.
Kontakte are a relatively unknown 3 piece band from the UK that blend elements of post-rock, noise music and electronic music. They describe themselves as being "Cinematic" and "Hypnotic". There isn't much I can say to fault such claims. Although not quite enthralled, I found myself very relaxed while listening to this album. The issue with a fair amount of post-rock is that it either bombards you with noise or bores you with long drawn out sections that are lacking in substance. Kontakte seem to have found a nice balance in between the two on "We Move Through Negative Spaces". You are neither deafened nor left yawning. Well at least not while listening to each individual song. What lets this album down is how you are able to hear a section and then think "...Well I've heard that before." It by far isn't the most original effort, with the majority of the material adhering to the same cinematic post-rock structure we are all familiar with. Namely; introductory riff, Crescendo and then an outro resembling a softer version of the first riff. You can only hear these dynamics used so many times before they become dull. The song "With Glowing Hearts" even goes as far as to do this twice within the space of 8 minutes. If you are already an avid post-rock fan then don't expect to hear anything particularly ground breaking or different.
That's not to say that every song sounds the same or is laid out in this way. By the time we reach the fourth track "Early Evening Bleeds Into Night" our ears are met with sombre violins layered over drone-like ambience. The effect is actually rather beautiful and it makes this song easily the best on the album. It flows very smoothly and doesn't feel forced at any point. The following track "A Snowflake In Her Hand" attempts to use strings in a similar fashion but winds up being repetitive and forgettable. As mentioned before the band use an archaic post-rock structure that loses its effect the more it is heard. The final song "The Ocean Between You and Me" shows that, when done well, this slightly outdated way of doing things can still be effective. As the final melody climbs the listener is left with chills but also a contrasting feeling of warmness. As a closing track it does what it needs to do and instils beauty the way that this genre of music should.
One thing that really sticks out at me about this album is that the band are attempting to be more epic than is really needed. I can't help but feel its soundscapes aren't as well crafted as they could be simply because they seem to hasten the coming of each climax. As a result of this some of the progressions feel forced and unnatural and the songs that suffer from this feel slightly condensed. However the band does seem to have a clear idea of what they are trying to do and putting this aside they do it reasonably well. If they were to instead let their ideas flow into one another, then I sense that Kontakte could quickly become a household name within the post-rock genre.
- Early Evening Bleeds Into Night
- The Owls Won't See Us In Here
- The Ocean Between You And Me