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Klaus – ‘Tusk’ EP (R&S)

It’s no wonder that young Londoner Klaus has gained plaudits from two behemoths of post-dubstep, James Blake and Mount Kimbie: the production on show on his debut release for R&S Records is straight from the murky night bus soundtrack manual itself.

‘Tusk’ largely consists of rhythmic and percussive sounds wrapped in several coats of reverb at the fore with very little other instrumentation, and generally the overall effect is one of dark and subtly eerie menace – an uncluttered and effective approach to composition.

Klaus’ influences and listening habits take in everything from Afro-funketeers Bama & The Family and Blue Note soul/jazz pioneer Bobby Hutcherson to more likeminded contemporaries such as Photek and Digital Mystikz are thrown into the pot, demonstrating a healthy and stable musical grounding for the producer to draw from.

Many of these influences aren’t immediately obvious on ‘Tusk’ – its stripped down production baring little in the way of musical reference points outside of the Hyperdub sound. Both ‘Fens’ and ‘Cypher’ breathe in time with their fractured beats – long, distant and deep drones padding out the latter, while the former’s minimal kick-and-shaker textures are seemingly built to torment a paranoid psychotic staring at the fluorescently-lit ceiling of a padded room.

‘Pim’s huge sonic range – especially in the lower regions – is the key to its vast ambience, while the title track seems to rhythmically stumble along in a seductively hypnotic way, bursts of percussive hits and vinyl crackle-coated keys sticking out at all the right places.

Perhaps it’s fitting then that the EP finds a home on on the reenergized R&S Records, the stable from which springs forth staggering amounts of brilliant atmospheric music – James Blake, Space Dimension Controller and Lone among their numbers. In Klaus, it seems as if the label has found itself a new name for that list.

Tom Quickfall

‘Tusk’ EP is released via R&S on August 8.