Koen Holtkamp

Motion: Connected Works

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Working as one half of experimental soundscapers Mountains, Koen Holtkamp's intricately processed guitar and synth sounds transformed into astonishingly patient and otherworldly layers of spectral drones. Beginning with the quiet grandeur of 2008's Field Rituals, Holtkamp began releasing solo work while his duo continued on, exploring more guitar-based compositions and wayside distractions on his own. These solo works always were in keeping with the meticulous composition of Mountains' painstakingly crafted waves of beautiful noise, developed and refined from themes that originated in live performance. Motion represents something different, with its first three tracks being composed and realized from the ground up in the recording studio, seeing Holtkamp move away from some of the live looping and sample-based composition of previous work. Analog synth bubbles and computer-generated upright bass tones engage in a nervous dance on "Crotales," while "Vert" builds to a deluge of distorted lead guitar soloing, easily the most traditional playing from someone known for making a guitar sound more like billowing clouds or flapping wings of a flock of birds than a killer solo. The 21-minute drone of "Endlessness" rounds out the album, slowly unfolding from melodica/pump organ drones into a sea of snaking synth lines and clusters of airy guitar tones that bounce from slow-motion dreaminess into crashing distortion and then fade into percussive stereo ticks, settling into a sort of sonic sunset. Motion represents the fourth proper solo album from Holtkamp, but he's embarked on plenty of one-off EPs, collaborations, and other less official releases. Connected Works, the companion piece to stand-alone album Motion, collects all of these releases that were previously only available on vinyl. The collection includes tracks from 2008's Make Haste, 2010's Gravity/Bees, and 2013 release Liquid Light Forms. These tracks, spanning many years, offer a look at the deeply deliberate practice of sound Holtkamp has been cultivating as he went, easily apparent in the transcendent "Hudson Static," a track recorded live at Brooklyn loft space Shea Stadium, and every bit as majestic and connective when broadcasting live from the smoky punk show as on any of the pained-over studio tracks.

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