Tom Knapp :: Mophoc Rez EP (Ge-stell)

A brief and promising introduction to an artist working deep within nonrepresentational sound composition. Shifting metallics, collapsing walls of illogical harmonics, and granular synthesis that jumps from acoustic imitation to minute sample scrubbing.

Tom Knapp :: Mophoc Rez EP (Ge-stell)
Despite being Tom Knapp’s debut release under his given name, Knapp has been a long time contributor to the electronic music underground, curating labels and events as part of Vector and Icasea, as well as releasing for Skam Records as part of the Mortal and Chemist project. This 4 track EP for the fairly new but already impressive Ge-stell label shows an experienced producer working well in a difficult terrain.

Each cut of Mophoc Rez shares a good deal of similarity, where a few sound elements, usually no more than 3 or 4, are grouped together to make uneasy and mutable landscapes, unstable yet fairly static in their low simmering energy. Those familiar with the raw digital explorations of Editions Mego or OR will recognize the sound palette at hand here; shifting metallics, collapsing walls of illogical harmonics, and granular synthesis that jumps from acoustic imitation to minute sample scrubbing.

If all of this sounds threatening, it is not, at least for the most part. What lends Knapp a great deal of novelty is a sense of restraint; sounds are never piled on one another, rarely feeling oppressive despite their sometimes harsh sonic nature. In fact, there’s playful element to be glimpsed behind an even stronger character of careful hesitation. Mophoc Rez sometimes sounds less like DAW composition and more like a room recording of a free improving trio or quartet, albeit one that plays instruments sourced from an alternate dimension that shares little of our physics. Knapp employs time-based effects, especially tight reverbs which begin to suggest acoustic spaces but are then quickly contradicted, further complicating the “what” and “where” of his sounds.

In this quick 20 minutes, despite covering much sonic ground, few familiar compositional tropes are employed until the very end, where a bloodyminded indulgence in aggressively tight looping satisfies for a powerful resolution. Ultimately, this EP serves as a brief and promising introduction to an artist working deep within nonrepresentational sound composition. Inscrutable objects tossed into and pulled apart within impossible spaces.

Mophoc Rez is available on Ge-stell.

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