Published Feb 22, 2017Perhaps best known as a visual artist and collaborator with Arca, FKA twigs and Björk, Jesse Kanda's debut EP as doon kanda, entitled Heart, most closely resembles the abstract electronic works of the first of those collaborators, Arca — but isn't quite as extraordinary.
Opener "Axolotl" is the most club-friendly track, with a pumping techno beat and a relatively simple but effective wailing, distorted synth melody. It could aptly soundtrack a street race, or a video game about street racing.
In contrast, the rest of the EP is almost beat-less. "Womb" conjures the muffled memory of a techno beat, but it lasts for less than a minute, and is otherwise out-shined by icy synth shards. Hardly womb-like, it might better analogize the flickering startup of consciousness itself, though it offers little for a listener to hold onto.
"Wings" does have even a semblance of a beat — the only percussion is a scratchy hi-hat-like sound. Again, the icy synths are the main story, and in this case the tumbling, circular melodies seem to tell of attempts at flight rather than actual flight. "Feline" is creepy, carnivalesque music that evokes the deep web, while "Heart" suffers a boring bass line.
Without being terribly groundbreaking or accessibly danceable (aside from "Axolotl"), and in Arca's shadow, Kanda seems to still be figuring out his aesthetic purpose or goal. Artists like Actress, Laurel Halo and others have already taken a sort of scrambled avant-techno sound further than many experts might've thought possible five years ago, but that doesn't mean there's not still room for new voices. If Kanda keeps learning and growing as a musician, he'll get there. (Hyperdub)