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TRACK-BY-TRACK: New Kowton Album
Christian Eede , April 11th, 2016 14:26

Read a track-by-track guide to 'Utility', the debut album from Kowton

Having premiered the first taste of his debut solo album on the site just a couple of months ago in the form of 'Shots Fired', below you can read a track-by-track guide to Kowton's Utility. You can stream the album in full above.

A producer who's been working primarily with bass-driven house and techno, mostly on Peverelist's Bristol-based Livity Sound label, one of the UK's most distinctive electronic music labels, for some years now, his debut album has been a long time coming and sees him delivering nine mostly club-ready cuts for Livity taking in the sound he and associates have been finessing across a number of releases. The album is out this Friday and you can pre-order it here.

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The version of this track that made it onto the the LP is maybe the fourth of fifth tune I'd thought I'd finished using the same sounds. It began life as a Berghain friendly techno piece, from there it migrated into slower beatdown house territory before eventually ending up as this odd hybrid that's maybe closer to classic dubstep than anything else. I feel it works well as an introduction: it's to the point and it's over before you know it.


This one's one of my favourites. The bass line is just a pitched tom fed through a filter with a fairly erratic cut off but it gives the track the propulsion you'd usually get from a bass line. There are few obvious switches in the track, but the rising pads and expanding percussion take it from an eery plodder to heavy roller subtly and effectively. I've heard this one out a few times and it really works on the floor. It's a bastard to mix but don't let that put you off.


Maybe the strangest track on the LP, Balance came about after a long chat with [All Caps label co-head] Bake about trying to break away from what people expect structurally. In a move straight out of Peverelist's book the drop happens half a bar late while two riffs take turns to dominate the frequency spectrum in no particular order. The breakdown that sounds like something off an Augustus Pablo track apparently.

Sleep Chamber

Sleep Chamber feels like one of the more obvious tracks on the LP: it's all very linear and compartmentalised; it's got a little vocal tic and a big pad and a breakdown. The sub-heavy kick and low tom provide a pummeling undercarriage while the hi toms hammer away like an old Perlon track gone wrong. [Peverelist] played it at Berghain last month and it sounded amazing.

Some Cats

This one I love. Again it started life as something completely different: a fully fledged house track with a big kick and piano riff and a big pad that rose and rose. After about 9 months working on it I was left with what went on the record: just the core riff and one note from the piano repeated over and over, oscillating in and out of another. I think the key with tracks as reduced as this is knowing when to go for it and when not to, such extreme pruning doesn't always work but here I feel it really did.

Loops 1

'Loops 1' is literally just that. It's a jam session on a drum machine run through a saturator with minimal effects or processing. I wasn't sure on this one, but when we it came to sequencing the album it gave a brief respite from the claustrophobia of the rest of the record. The track almost acts as a negative print to the beatless intensity of 'Some Cats' or 'A Bluish Shadow' in the context of the album as a whole.

A Bluish Shadow

The summer before last I wrote a track called 'Glock & Roll' that caught the ears of a few DJs and did pretty well on the festival circuit. In the period that followed i spent a lot of time trying to recreate that undefinable quality that made G&R a bit of a hit. This tune was a product of those studio sessions. Its melancholy and empty but the repeating riff is a bit of an ear worm.

Shots Fired

With a number of releases on Livity Sound we've used a big brazen pad to bring a bit of fun and light to what might otherwise be quite austere music. On this album closer I wanted to do something similar minus the slow build of those earlier Livity tracks, hence the riff hits you from the word 'go'. As the track proceeds there's a final burst of intensity before the second drop, then it all just falls away before all that's left is a bass noise. That seemed like a fitting way to end things.