KATTOO – Motu
reviewed by: Peter Marks
ENG: Volker Kahl is not an easy man to keep tabs on; as one half of Beefcake he bent up sounds and mangled beats into twitching refugees from a sonic maelstrom, he began to also work under the name of Kattoo during this time which revealed much grander, intricate visions of the auditory field. Releasing his first three albums on the renowned Hymen label, this somewhat obscured artist chose to self-release his future records due to the rampant piracy which undercut his efforts to such dramatic effect that he very nearly quit making music altogether. This has been a point of contention within the underground as some have leveled the accusation of indulgent artistic ego but many of us look past and come away with a very different conclusion. This man wants his work to be appreciated and given the amount of time he spends on it, the correct thing to do is to pay him for these magnificent sculptures of sound he wrings out of the machines for our pleasure. Entitlement is what led him to sever all ties to the old model of distribution and by entitlement I mean on the part of the fans who more and more have become mindless consumers, never taking the time to immerse themselves… only chasing the next trend or fad like a dog with its face in the bumper of a parked car.
This is album number five from Kattoo and unlike his last release, Motu is drenched in atmosphere and clad in a velvet skin of introspection. Between each full song is a brief interlude which may be intended as a series of cerebral markers for the listener to get their bearings with; there is a lot going on in these compositions. Volker does not skimp on the details, his rhythms jump this way and that like rabid fireflies swarming near the flames; never daring to get too close but just walking that fine line between chronology’s pendulum and a cinematographer’s unflinching obsession to arrange in new and confounding ways. You get no words to drag your consciousness along, as per the usual, Motu is a metamorphic cloud of pure static electrical discharge. From within the impenetrable depths of this ever shifting meditation on dimensional space we are given mechanical precision from unnervingly organic sources.
Beware of the tides, they will reach beneath your feet and pull you out into the frothing cauldron of oblivion and here we are shown perhaps the true meaning of Kattoo’s methodology. He takes our subconscious resistance and folds it in upon itself until we are the ones who have become that tide. It is in our nature to subvert and slowly destroy both ourselves and our surroundings which is why I feel this album’s title is an abbreviation for Moment of True Understanding. Now if you’re with me on this, I can elaborate. This moment more often than not comes at a specific, violent point in one’s life… an accident, an internal misfire or an emotional breakdown. At these times, the world around us falls into a disturbingly sensible pattern of recognized comprehension. Colors become more vivid, the space around you begins to crackle and the very air you breathe seems to come alive. I may be way off base here but what I’m hearing in Kahl’s tracks on here are somehow accessing these memories.
For most, this is just more random IDM-ish experimental mish-mash. Where’s the hit, you club types ask. While so many around him play the game of giving in to the ephemeral whims of a listening public who have the attention span of a finger snap, Kattoo have merged reality and surrealism into a nexus of imaginative abandon. It is a strange pairing, have no illusions about that: you aren’t going to be hearing this coming out of the ear buds of generation i-pad. Or maybe you will, I find it hard to believe that the appreciative spark for unbridled artistry has been extinguished in all of them. Surely there are some who will hear this and come away subtly altered by this beautifully captured landscape loosed from one man’s mind.