Review @ Bleep: ..."An epic voyage into the dark cosmic corners of experimental music..." bleep.com/release/47093-kingbastard-subspace
SUBSPACE breaks KINGBASTARD’S year & a half of self-imposed silence; during which time he has been crafting & composing material under his own name (Chris Weeks); releasing four LPs (A Haunting Sun | A Deconstructed Sun | Contemplation Moon | The Lost Cosmonaut) & three EPs (Formeg: | The Ebb & Flow | Gwynt, Glaw, Myfyrio); establishing himself as a highly regarded composer of alternative Ambient, Drone & Minimal music.
SUBSPACE is an ‘alternative-take’ on the ideas & themes explored within Chris’ & our debut release for Odd John Records – ‘The Lost Cosmonaut’ (Released on Odd John Records 28th Oct 2013). While creating the concept for The Lost Cosmonaut, Chris immersed himself in research into deep-space phenomena, interstellar travel, infrared telescopic images of nebulae, space-based conspiracy theories, & a healthy-dose of Science Fiction literature.
Chris says: “Even though I’d finished working on The Lost Cosmonaut, my thoughts were still consumed by space-related ideas & concepts for tracks, with no place for them to go, no outlet. Then I considered… What if I made a KINGBASTARD record which is conceptually related to my album The Lost Cosmonaut?”
Thus, SUBSPACE was born.
While the concept is thematically linked to his previous work, this is pretty much where the similarities end. SUBSPACE takes into account the initial premise of The Lost Cosmonaut; an early, undisclosed attempt to get a manned-spacecraft into Earth’s orbit. However, at the point in the narrative where cosmonaut & craft are “buffeted by a geomagnetic storm”, SUBSPACE begins & the album’s paths separate, taking tangential trajectories, both physically & sonically.
SUBSPACE embraces the fantastical; the idea of being able to travel freely among the stars via means of riding Wormholes. This imagining unfurls across a plethora of parallel universes. KINGBASTARD immerses the listener in his audio-macrocosm, interpreting the sights & sounds of ‘deep-space phenomena’ & interstellar travel. From the bombardment of BOK GLOBULES to the somewhat sinister serenity of SUBSPACE DRIFT, he takes us for a ride across the hypnotic highways of hyperspace, in his inimitable, hyperbolic style.
SUBSPACE is an evolution of the KINGBASTARD sound, delving into deeper & darker realms of intense rhythms & atmospherics. The immersive textures found throughout reflect the dense, star-forming regions of deep-space. Nebulous, kaleidoscopic soundscapes are juxtaposed against ‘dark-matter induced’ beats & bass. He’s not lost his signature sound & love of diversity, but he has redefined, enhanced & refined it. SUBSPACE is without doubt, ‘a stellar leap-forward’; but don’t just take our word for it. Here’s the man himself, letting us in on the ideas & processes behind making his new record…
“SUBSPACE is essentially a return to the ‘original KINGBASTARD sound’, although it’s certainly not a work of nostalgia or a ‘clone record’, it’s very much its own animal; a definite progression. More-over it’s a return to my ethos of old; to create ‘odd but accessible’, beat-driven alternative electronica.
I decided to take some time away from making music with beats as I’d been producing/releasing it for a long time, during which the process had started to become a little stagnated; hence the self-imposed sabbatical. I wanted to come back to my KINGBASTARD project feeling rejuvenated, employing a fresh approach to aide my compositional development & creativity.
SUBSPACE is strong on concept & theme, akin to my most recent KB albums Beautiful Isolation & Lost Property; but utilising the more aggressive electronic sounds & styles of ‘KINGBASTARD past’. Previously, as the more ‘glitch-infused’ incarnation of KINGBASTARD, I did a lot of post-production editing on the arrangements of my tracks, chopping-them-up to the nth degree. This was often very time-consuming & could get in the way of the initial idea & direction of a piece. I had a tendency to over-complicate my arrangements, perhaps trying a little too hard to be ‘different’. This time around, I decided a new methodology was necessary. I wanted to create an immersive style/sound that was more ‘live’, more immediate; focusing on creating highly textured, evolving soundscapes & atmospheres, integrated & layered with more minimal melodies, sub-bass & percussive elements. That’s not to say that my arrangements are no longer challenging, more that they have been stripped-back, refined. Essentially, the track layers, arrangements/sequencing & FX found on the album were triggered & manipulated ‘on the fly’, much like they would be in a live scenario. I found the tracks developed more subtly within this ‘live environment’. Some new acquisitions in the hard/software department helped facilitate that perfectly. My workflow felt more organic, allowing for a more dynamic & kinetic evolution of my style; which in turn, best suited the subject matter & ideas behind the tracks & concept of SUBSPACE.
Performing tracks in this way afforded me a far more open approach; the fresh take on my technique, track development & sound I coveted. I found the process of recording & arranging more natural; letting the sounds grow within their own space. The beats & bass elements served as a structural backbone on which the atmospheric textures could evolve & shape-shift, without losing cohesion. However; this method was not always conducive to creating the style of track I wanted, therefore I had to apply a mixture of techniques from both past & present to get the required result. ‘MANIC DECOMPRESSION’ is a case in point. To establish the mood I wanted to convey, I employed a liberal helping of the older ‘glitched-up-bastard style’. Creating the identity of SUBSPACE was all about trying to find a progressive happy medium between my styles & techniques of old & new, without losing the essence of my KB sound.
Naturally some post-production tweaking, editing, arranging & mastering was necessary to get the album into shape, but I feel the new techniques used have helped reinvigorate my passion for creating this type of electronic music. The most-rewarding, enjoyable, & to some extent most important thing is, utilising these methods made producing beat-driven electronic music fun again! With this in mind, I won’t be enforcing another eighteen month hiatus! I’m hoping to create & release more KINGBASTARD material soon.”
We at Odd John Records certainly hope so too!