Overland But Underwater
Kelpe sculpt the kind of dense, no-nonsence electronic soundscapes popularised by Warp stalwarts Boards of Canada. Whereas BOC have come to sound like a parody of themselves, heirs-apparent Kelpe revisit the BOC template without the restraint and obsessiveness displayed by their forefathers. ‘Sea Inside Body’ is a massive, cavernous album awash (literally drenched) in distorted synths, the crunchiest beats modern technology can buy, and the constant babble, click and whirl of highly-evolved electronic sequencing. As with BOC, Kelpe are able to fashion something organic and visceral from mostly synthetic tools, with a similar penchant for distorted-cassette nostalgia. Although this is IDM of the shape-shifting, slo-motion variety, it is not without its funk, albeit slung-low and blunted, its enormous breaks unfettered by the spasms of glitch.
Highlights include two main opening tracks, the damaged-music box electro of ‘Knock, Turn’, and the vast squall of the slithering title track, whose reversed beats have a menacing suction effect, like Octopus tendrills (perhaps!). There are some mis-steps, the use of spoken-word samples from teenage girls casts a more mundane pall over a couple of otherwise otherworldly tracks. Seemingly intended to add a more human touch as counterpoint to the machine-made, something more spectral and less rooted in the banal would have worked better.