Photek: KuPalm (Photek Productions)
CD/LP/DL
Out Now

It’s finally here! We’re talking about the return of the legendary Rupert Parkes. Our man Favio has had his hands on the latest release by the man better known as Photek for a couple of weeks now & here are his thoughts on it.

I believe there’s no need to introduce one of the most influential Drum’n’Bass artists from the 90s, the man who helped develop the scene along names like Goldie, Roni Size or LTJ Bukem, but let’s do a quick check of his most recent works.

Four years after the release of Form & Function Vol.2 in 2007, containing previously unreleased tracks and remixes of old tunes, Photek delivered a couple of EPs (Aviator and Avalanche) on his own imprint and the single Closer on Tectonic which was backed with a remix from label owner Pinch. This material somehow marked a new direction in his career, a direction that is further explored in Ku:Palm.

Opening track Signals is a laid back progressive breakbeat number that unwinds itself around percussive synths and big drums as it reaches its peak point. Quadrant has a similar vibe but the drum breaks are replaced by hi-hats and claps giving it a sort of classic house feel. Next is the album version of Aviator, a warm feel-good track that was already featured in the 2011 EP of the same name.

The charming Pyramid was available as a mouth-watering free download in anticipation of the full album. It retains some of that jazz-meets-jungle feel that Photek once was known for, adding an eastern twist to create a mysterious and dark atmosphere. Absolute class. Shape Charge goes even deeper with a complex multi-layered array of half step beats topped with some glacial pads and minimalistic lead lines, while the cinematic Munich is quite a pleasant surprise with its placid piano arrangements driven by a steady four-to-the-floor beat.

The latter half of the record though, seems to suffer from severe lack of consistence. Disappointingly, there is no trace or sign of the excellent craftsmanship that Parkes demonstrated in the monumental Modus Operandi. Only Sleepwalking, a catchy Dubstep tune also found in Aviator EP, deserves some attention. To be fair One Of A Kind is indeed a nice try in the form of dancefloor-oriented progressive house but it just does not have enough character to stand for itself or even cut it as a floor-filler in a club environment. Instead of a late redemption things get worse as closing track This Love completely fails to meet the standards. An instrumental version might have worked better, but still the production techniques used sound too generic and over-used.

To sum up, this is quite an irregular record that will probably let down old-school fans, especially after the promising taster that was Pyramid. Don’t get me wrong though, the problem with Ku:Palm is not so much messing around with different genres but not being able to do so while maintaining the edge from previous productions hence finding a solid balance.

Photek’s website seems to be down at the moment but presumably will be ‘up’ again soon & when so will be here. He’s also on Facebook & Twitter.

All words by favio db overclock. More articles by favio can be found here.

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