Kel McKeown aka Kelpe could be seen as the natural progression in a long line of forward-thinking musicians, drawing from early Krautrock outfits and the gauzy Electronica of 90s Warp releases. He first rose to prominence in the early ‘oos with a remarkably strong collection of sonic experiments that paved the way for that hallmark LA beat scene sound, centred around the Low End Theory clubnight, and propagated by Flying Lotus and The Gaslamp Killer, among others.
His latest album ‘The Curved Line’, out August 28 on his own DRUT Recordings imprint, is his most mature creation yet. Still keeping in line with his proclivity for sample-heavy, nebulous beat work, the record sees McKeown solidify a sound that equally straddles club-friendly workouts and late night headphone reverie. Get a taster of the LP by listening to ‘Calumet’, and check Kelpe’s recent set at Boiler Room Mexico.
We got the seasoned beat creator on board for a YouTube sessions that’s as comical as it is poignant; offering up classic Alan Partridge clips alongside a fascinating short film set in 1970s Dalston. A captivating interview with everyone’s favourite sonic architect, Aphex Twin, is thrown in for good measure. Sit back, press play and read on for Kelpe’s accompanying commentary…
1. John Smith – The Girl Chewing Gum 1976
Ingenious idea for a short film by John Smith from 1976. Also just fascinating to get to see pre-hipster footage of Dalston from that period.
2. SANSO-XTRO – Hello Night Crow
I guess there’s 100s of well made music videos that hardly get any exposure, but I thought that I’d pick out this one by Australian artist Sanso Xtro. Really love the song and the blend of night lit forest photography and simple but stylish computer animation.
3. Gou Miyagi
Love the way Gou Miyagi skates. Completely individual and different, stylish, but also pretty damn silly in this particular vid.
4. DIMLITE! The Amazing
Stumbled across this in my YouTube favourites list. Probably won’t mean as much to other people as it does to me, but an artist I really admire playing a wicked venue in Vilnius that I am also close to (although I think it’s since closed down).
5. John Renbourn – I know my babe
One of my favourite trad folk songs, and John Renbourn’s fantastic version. Also it’s pretty cool that the live version is pretty much identical to the recording – what a brilliant guitarist, really sad that we lost him recently.
6. Alan Patridge – Stop getting bond wrong!
Glang, glangalangalang. Had to include some Partridge. Someone has synched the audio from Alan’s description of the intro to The Spy Who Loved Me to the actual footage from the film. It works perfectly.
7. Aphex Twin (Interview) on BBC Radio 3 Mixing It
I think this is the most substantial and revealing Aphex interview I have heard, and it includes some great bits of experimental music too.
8. Gary Wilson – 6.4 = Make Out
This song is so addictive – played it on repeat for ages and finally got the album on vinyl. His backing band are so good.
9. Kim Jung Mi – Haenim
Another song I got obsessed with this year. No idea what she’s singing about as it’s in Korean but it’s beautiful. Apparently it’s on the end of that Richard Ayoade film which I haven’t seen.
10. Ice Breaking Fail
Still doesn’t fail to make me laugh this, I think especially because the laughter on the video is so infectious and he’s trying to talk through it. Also can’t work out where it is or where their accents are from.
‘The Curved Line’ is out 28 August on DRUT Recordings. Kelpe plays The Waiting Room in London on Sept 17th. Tickets available here.