Release Date: Sep 30, 2014
Record label: Pan
I've not been sleeping well, and KOCH isn't helping. Lying awake listening to this album, I feel its confidence—the work that has gone into creating this strange, private world—but also its anxiety. A nervous tick runs through it in the dark, the fidgiting of hallucinogenic exploration and great expeditions conducted entirely in the mind. Take a track like "Nueme," where the chords twitch and shimmer around a beat that's always threatening to congeal but never really does.
In 2012, Lee Gamble dropped a pair of releases for Bill Kouligas' excellent PAN Records imprint: the chopped-up jungle of Diversions 1994-1996 and the unpredictably experimental Dutch Tvashar Plumes. Both albums showed off Gamble's affinity with early UK dance music styles, yet they also demonstrated prescience, as the producer seemed to be peering into the near future. This double-LP is the result, expanding on the aspects revealed by Gamble's earlier efforts and pushing the boundaries of his ever-expanding oeuvre.With KOCH, Gamble employs a more introspective and personal brand of electronic music.
The creative arc Lee Gamble’s music has taken is a strange and wonderful thing to behold. It began with a literal tearing apart of his influences, and then set off on a journey to see how much further away he could progressively move from them. His first full-length release, Diversions 1994-1996, tore passages from jungle mixtapes, stripped all the beats out, and reimagined them as dysfunctional bad dreams.
“That’s why it’s all so scuzzy and fucked, because if the kickdrums are too clean then it’s aimed at a dancefloor. And a dancefloor is momentary, it’s latched onto fashion.” That was an interesting way in which Lee Gamble explained the sound of his 2012 PAN releases, Dutch Tvashar Plumes and Diversions 1994-1996. While Gamble has grappled in recent years with the differences between equally fashionable influences — early dance music and academic computer music — he would assure us that the appearance of style consciousness is a coincidence.
Lee Gamble Koch (Pan) Lee Gamble means to "drag you in and out of a space." The Londoner's output for Berlin imprint Pan remits in twos. 2012's Diversions 1994-1996 and Dutch Tvashar Plumes were concomitant statements, and now Koch arrives only a month after the Kuang EP. At first, its textures move in identifiable forms; stretched ambient hues hollow out jungle etchings like sheet lightning in the darkening gradient of a cumulus cloud front.
Strange three dimensional landscapes construct and deconstruct themselves , with landmarks taking almost-recognizable shape then disappearing into the fog. Some sounds zoom in and out of focus, like metallic insects swooping in to dive-bomb your face, while others hover weightlessly just at the edge of perception. With KOCH, London electronicist Lee Gamble explores the pulse and texture of sounds that may refer obliquely to the universe around us, but don’t exactly replicate them.
“I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to suggest that a lot of drone music is doing essentially the same formal things as certain sorts of dance music albeit on a different time scale; one is zoomed way in and the other is zoomed way out, but it’s impossible to tell which is which.” – Chris Madak, speaking to Juno Plus The title of Lee Gamble’s new album is, we’re told, taken from a text he’s writing. What it means is left to us to guess, but a good place to start is probably its homonym. To ‘cotch’ is a slang term – borrowed, like so many others, from Jamaican English – meaning to rest, to relax, to kick back and watch the world go by.