Kelpe

Fourth: The Golden Eagle

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The Golden Eagle is the fourth album by London-based electronic artist and producer Kel McKeown (better known as Kelpe) and the first release on his own DRUT Recordings label. As wild and vibrant as its Technicolor album cover image suggests, The Golden Eagle is a reflection of Kelpe's continued collaboration with drummer Chris Walmsley (Psapp, Broadcast), whose fevered stamp is all over this record. While not a complete departure from earlier releases like Ex-Aquarium and Cambio Wechsel, everything here feels a little brighter, thicker, and more vivid. From the funky synth bass leads and plucky marimba of "Go Visible" to the frantic, racing pulse of "Glinterlude," Kelpe keeps his faucet of ideas running at full bore from start to finish. Orchestral samples collide with stuttering, jazzy percussive flams and cascading, arpeggiated synths that feel like chiptunes on psychedelics. Despite the warmth of his sonic palette, this jungle world cacophony can occasionally become a bit exhausting to the senses. He has a keen melodic sense and an earthy tonality that generally serves him well, but his playful imagination often leads to a stereo field so cluttered that it becomes difficult to focus on any specific part. In some cases, though, a bit more of everything works to his benefit, like on the dazzlingly muscular standout "Superzero Theme." Its three minutes of brilliant, scattershot melodies, triumphant bass lurch, and drums that sound like they were tossed down a stairwell make it seem almost otherworldly. General busyness aside, The Golden Eagle is the work of a highly creative individual with possibly too many good ideas, and that's hardly a bad thing.

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