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A Magazine for Sheffield

The Curved Line

Kel McKeown, or Kelpe as he’s known to me and you, comes back onto the scene with his fifth album, The Curved Line, and it’s a treat.

The album shifts through a complex mix of ambient sounds, hip hop beats, synth and the occasional flash of techno. It is at one point club-ready and at the other positioned at the very left of leftfield electronic music, but despite these shifts in tone, the album remains a definite whole, refusing to fragment into a series of standalone moments.

This ability to seamlessly shift from sound to sound bears a great likeness to Aphex Twin’s Selected Ambient Works, with the press release perhaps best describing the album’s exploratory nature as “a mature soundworld full of glowing club experiments”.

‘Glowing’ is the word I’d choose to pick up on here. Even though the album does occasionally throw out a jagged edge, the album is grounded by a warm, ambient glow that permeates through each track and ensures that every one of these ‘club experiments’ doesn’t stray too far from the nest.

It’s very much electronic music for the Guardian readers out there. It’s intellectual and unwilling to provide the cheap thrills that so many radio stations deem necessary of electronic music to be broadcast over their frequencies, but it’s also entertaining, infectious and a great testament to Mr McKeown’s skills as a producer that he’s still creating tracks this good on album number five.