Alex Kozobolis ~ Weightless

weightlessWith Weightless, Alex Kozobolis has managed to do something we thought impossible: to combine original tracks and remixes in such a way as to offer a complete album that never betrays its origins.  For this we can credit the four remixers, who provide alternate versions distinctive enough to stand on their own; and Kozobolis’ choice of track sequencing, which follows that of a paper folded in half.  The end result: a piano-based album that touches on ambient and post-rock before returning home.  Those who helped to fund this record should be extremely happy with the results.

We’ve grown enamored with Kozobolis’ sound over the years ~ tender, calm and as friendly as the grandfather clock that ticked throughout some of his earlier tracks.  Weightless seems him stretching his wings a bit.  The emotion of the gorgeous opener, “Unravel”, is set into play by the contrast between swift and slow, major and minor (the minor very minor, appearing at the two-minute mark).  As is typical for Kozobolis, the piano is miked in such a way as to integrate the sounds of the hammers and keys, a technique once considered suspect but now considered warm.  “Closure” continues in a more thoughtful vein, with a single flourish toward the end; “And Find Yourself” unfolds as a short journey, with the transition at the mid-point, followed by a near-stop and a realignment that suggests a new train of thought.  The title track starts swiftly, pauses, plows forward, stops again, then adds a (human-based) percussive backbone.

clear-as-vinylWhen constructing an album, few would think of following such a track with a remix of the same track, but these are no ordinary remixes, and none are club-based.  Tom Adams adds an ambient gloss to Kozobolis’ flourishes, throws in some bass, transforms the slap to a drum and amazingly tilts the entire song in a post-rock direction, nearly doubling its length.  But this stretch is nothing compared to Siavash Amini’s treatment of “And Find Yourself,” as he quadruples its length, finding its heart not in the notes but in the space between.  As loops become choruses, a track originally meant for brief contemplation becomes one of deep meditation.

Hedia’s “Closure” (appearing late in the album, which makes more sense considering the title) treats each note like a snowdrop, looping and sprinkling them in a non-linear manner that calls to mind the work of Japanese labels Spekk and flau ~ although Hedia turns out to be from New Mexico.  Toward the end, a swift electronic surge is followed by an intense calm.  Finally, Transept returns to the beginning with a mirror image of the opening track, enhanced by light percussion, strings and a feeling of having arrived at one’s destination.  All too often remixes feel like commissioned work; these feel like love.  (Richard Allen)

Release date:  27 January

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