Koloto‘s Mechanica EP has been receiving increased attention as of late, including a single (“Fox Tales”) on Bad Panda Records and a physical release on Abandon Building, including one new track and six remixes. We think it’s worth highlighting as well.
Koloto (Canterbury’s Maria Sullivan) is a playful percussionist who draws as much inspiration from the old school as the new. Echoes of classic IDM artists (Amon Tobin, Aphex Twin) can be heard in her work, alongside the sympathetic sounds of sibling artists such as Lullatone and Pawn. Bells, glockenspiels and drums run rampant throughout, stuttering and sputtering their way through myriad melodies. And yet, the music is robust, lively, and full, thanks to rapid rhythms and interlocking intricacies. If anything, the EP sounds like the internal workings of a clock, with every part miked. One may dance if one so chooses; or one may sit back, fascinated by the complexity of so many pieces moving so swiftly without collision.
The original tracks are the best, although the remixers acquit themselves well. The six guests add nuance, in most cases by softening the edges of the original tracks and providing new sub-melodies. CloZee emphasizes the slower beats of “Antares” while allowing the swifter currents to drift offshore. Dot paints “Mechanica” with additional reverb and nudges the beats a bit off center, while Sun Glitters strips elements away to reveal the track’s inner ambience. Ekoda Map repeats the soft intro of “Kill Screen” in a light interlude, and takes an emery board to the beats until they sound more IDM than industrial. Set in Sand makes “Fox Tales” sway like a swing in the breeze. Escaping Animals is the only artist to adopt a different tactic, exposing the framework of “Cedar Shed” with harder beats, a new main riff and a warped breakdown. These approaches all lead to the same conclusion: one can enhance the work of Koloto, but one can’t improve upon it.
Take for example the single “Fox Tales” (so much better than that other fox song!). The four Pachelbel-like chords that introduce the clicking percussion are swiftly joined by thumb piano and repetitions of glitch. The track is warm and enveloping, yet also sharp and defined, a sweet contrast that makes one want to take it home and dress it in knit wool. Exhibit B: the unassuming “Antares”, whose speaker-to-speaker glockenspiel tones busy themselves like wandering animals. But best of all is the title track, a conglomeration of cogs and gears that perfectly reflects its title. Koloto is still a few songs away from a full album, but this extended package is a fine way to introduce her to the world. (Richard Allen)