Thursday, February 12, 2015

Felix K arrives on Blackest Ever Black with a front-rank EP of bleak, bombed-out soundboy electronics.

"Felix has been active in the underground of his native Berlin since the late ’90s, often working incognito. His roots are in drum-and-bass, and he has repeatedly advanced and invigorated the genre with his own adroitly minimalist, dub-centered productions, making important lateral connections to austere Hard Wax-school techno and more abstract electronic realms. With their Hidden Hawaii label and its small galaxy of subsidiary imprints, meanwhile, Felix and his co-conspirators are futurists who still kill the old way: doggedly DIY, committed to short-run white label culture and covert action. Even in the context of his wide-ranging discography, Tragedy of the Commons’ 17-minute title track is a stand-alone experiment in form: a labyrinthine, slow-burning dread epic, beatless but crushingly dynamic, its frail minimal synth lines wandering lonely amid plate-shifting bass drones and a dense, disorienting assemblage of field recordings. It’s exemplary Berlin noir: hurt but stoic, pessimistic but unyielding, and closely attuned to the city’s strange psychogeography. The haunted weather intensifies in the hulking ‘Silent Money’. While dub is there in the DNA of all Felix K output, this is his most explicit nod to the source, a slow-motion soundsystem downer armed with frequencies fit to disinter the dead. Ghosts awoken stick around for Onar Anxiety’s thunderous sub-low techno remix of ‘Fundamentals’, their howled chorus equal in force and fury to the cantering tribal drums." (Blackest Ever Black)


"Killer epic Ambient/leftfield Ambient Techno EP" (Hard Wax)

"It’s not easy to immediately contextualise Tragedy of the Commons amongst the other breadth of work Felix K has accomplished, though the absence of Felix K’s signature ticking drum and bass is immediately noticeable – having become so entwined in his lexicon as to render the omission remarkably significant. In the interview accompanying his podcast for Juno Plus in December, Felix K was already hinting at the record taking on a more expressing narrative, framing it as “a bit different” from other productions. Records like Escapisms and Flowers of Destruction have already seen more explicit dalliances with ambient or atmospheric tonality, but this is the first instance where it feels less like an aside and more like a full, expressive dedication to the idea." (Juno Plus)

"Felix K invokes D&B and techno's most strung-out daemons in his almighty debut for Blackest Ever Black. Clocking in at near enough mini-LP length between the tortuous 17-minute A-side 'Tragedy of the Commons' and a pair of tribal spectres on the flip, it's certainly the most ambitious, and arguably most impressive release in the veteran producer's armoury. That A-side is "exemplary Berlin noir", as BEB put it, administering a heavy dose of subterranean dread that crawls under the skin with opiate effect. Voyeuristic field recordings are suspended and swirled just out of reach against a backdrop of abyssal drone and smacky thrum, perhaps simulating the bustle of Kottbusser Tor at night as heard from below the street or hidden, bat-like below the S-Bahn line. B-side, 'Silent Money' trades in a bleaker sort of dub depression rent with dread voices and dank bass (actually sounds great of 45, too), before the Onar Anxiety remix of 'Fundamentals' shakes off the duppies with a limber tribal techno roll. Blackest Ever Black at their blackest, basically." (Boomkat)

"It’s an easy step to move from techy DnB to dark ambient. Simply remove the kick drum. That appears to be brooding Berliner Felix K’s strategy anyway, with his latest 12” Tragedy of the Commons on Blackest Ever Black sporting a 17 minute long drone epic birthed from a postclub wasteland. Mix 50 parts reverb, 30 parts unsettling shuffle noises, 15 parts minor synth loop and a meagre 5 parts 4/4 tempo and you get 100 parts. 100 bleak and shrouded parts that together make up side A and presumably personify a night skulking around the outskirts of Berghain because das bouncer didn’t like that shiny patch on your left trainer. I think that’s just jealousy born of bitterness from never having been to Berghain though. Nevertheless, it’s a good exercise in making creepy noisescapes but still leaves something to be desired - the sound design seems almost too obvious. On to the flip. There’s a cautious, steady beat that accompanies the smoky dust of Felix’s ambience on B1 ‘Silent Money’ that, along with some more defined reverberation and a dubby bass, brings something much more tantalising to the table. The trend of the EP continues as the sounds coalesce from murk to more beat-driven during Omar Anxiety’s remix of ‘Fundamentals’, a clanky moody techno roller that needs to be played with a large sub or nothing at all. I just know there’s some sweet frequency warping going on down there, but it’s only just perceptible. Anyway, overall a good dark drifty technoish release, but unfortunately a well trodden path by now." (Norman Records)

"Berlin native and Hidden Hawaii boss Felix Krone steps up to London’s Blackest Ever Black with a three track EP of dismantled, ambient junglist electronics. Although it’s not his first unconventional take on the genre, the abstraction that dominates Tragedy Of The Commons could be mistaken for a further departure from his involvement in the drum’n’bass scene dating back to the mid 90s – yet its elements find their way into Krone’s epic productions in their deconstructed forms. The EP is centred around the 17-minute title track, a story told by the disconcerting voices of its field recordings, continuous arpeggio and rumbling bass. As the bloodcurdling drone crescendos to overwhelming power only the shadow of a beat appears – whereas the opener is all about notion, Onar Anxiety’s remix of ‘Fundamentals’ beats its tribal drums, forcing the rhythm back into public amid peals of laughter from synths of evil souls." (Bleep)

"[...] Much of this EP's runtime is taken up by the title track, an expansive ambient piece that manages to be his most striking meditation on melancholia yet. Devoid of the jittery percussion that's marked most of his work, he's free to indulge in more abstract composition. Bleary smears of off-kilter arpeggios and thunderous bass blasts that give a sense of immediacy to the track's delirious plod and found sound samples of ghostly chatters and creaks lend a bodily terror to the piece. Beyond the purely cinematic horror of many darker ambient works, Krone adds details that give "Tragedy of the Commons" a sense of a real physical space, a grimy sort of environment that becomes more unsettling the more you explore it. [...]" (Pitchfork)

"Felix K, veteran drum 'n' Bass DJ and, more recently, explorer of the hinterland between jungle and techno, arrives on Blackest Ever Black. His new home should give a hint of the cinematic, darkly romantic contents of this sprawling EP. A windswept epic occupies the entire first side, with glacial drones and crackly recordings mapping a gloomy psychogeography of Berlin (home to both artist and label). "Silent Money" drifts along on hollow drums and banks of softly buzzing noise, going deep in pockets. "Fundamentals", as the name suggests, leans on K's regular vocabulary, balancing the noirish drama of Berlin dub techno over rumbling tribal drums. Crepuscular glamour, wearing a very thick coat." (The Wire March 2015)

"Blackest Ever Black, London’s foremost purveyors of doom and desolation, have tapped Felix K for an EP to arrive in the coming weeks. Entitled Tragedy Of The Commons, the EP is centred upon the 17-minute title track." (Fact Mag)

"The Berlin-based producer trades in experimental drum & bass. Most of his records to date, including 2013 debut album Flowers Of Destruction, have arrived on his own Hidden Hawaii label. Speaking to Juno Plus last month, Felix said Tragedy Of The Commons was "a bit different from some other stuff I've done." He added: "The main focus is more on narrative aspects, but you'll find some typical Felix K elements in there too." The label meanwhile describes the record, which will be available digitally and on vinyl, as "bleak, bombed-out soundboy electronics." The centrepiece of the EP looks to be the 17-minute title track." (Resident Advisor)

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