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I Know No Weekend Ollie Zhang , July 14th, 2016 12:12

A bottle of Maggi seasoning, a paperback edition of Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason and a suitcase constitute Joseph Beuys' 1972 piece I Know No Weekend. Beuys was a prolific artist who was known for many things, among which include whispering in the ear of a dead hare, creating thoughtful and deliberate work, a particular approach to materiality and an ardent belief in everyone’s capacity to be an artist.

Yair Elazar Glotman’s newest release under his Ketev moniker takes its name from the aforementioned assemblage, and is comprised by a series of homages to and narratives of Joseph Beuys artworks. With a persistent, thunderous bass and meticulous arrangements, the album is, like a Beuys piece, also thoughtful and deliberate, but moreover arresting from the start. I Know No Weekend is a cold and heavy addition to Glotman’s previous work as Ketev: featuring sonic materials sculpted with the utmost care, the record is a compelling demonstration of the unique and astute ear of a classically trained contrabass player, sound designer and composer. Such a wealth of musical experience undoubtedly makes for an incredibly rich sound.

While his finesse is heard more organically on the intimate Études, here it is iterated as part of a project that veers slightly towards techno territory. Ketev demonstrates a mastery over his archive of field recordings, painting dense atmospheres with them over 38 minutes. Occasional fragments remain intact and recognisable before being obscured by their abstract counterparts, which have been looped and stretched “out of their original memory”. With this album, Ketev’s treatment of field recordings was largely inspired by Beuys’ use of materials in his sculptures. Along with his distinct palette, the embodiment of a similarly considerate approach to material manipulation lends I Know No Weekend its haunting quality.

The record opens with textures that offer the slightest bit of warmth before ‘I Know No Weekend’ progresses into a thick arrangement of relentless bass, cold harmonies and rattles that tread carefully in and out of the periphery. Characteristic of other releases under Ketev, the persistent thump of the track returns again throughout the album, most arrestingly on the six minutes of ‘Stripes From The House Of The Shaman’, where Glotman ventures into near-danceable territory. While it’s the most techno-coloured track on I Know No Weekend, it does not sacrifice any bite nor growl to accomplish this.

Rhythmically and texturally intriguing ‘Lightning with Stag in its Glare’, opens with relatively untouched field recordings. These brief moments of clarity make up the most familiar few seconds of the record, before being obliterated by Glotman’s signature heavy rumbles. The incorporation of specks of glitch later in the track are striking, and they give the track a sprawl that makes it one of his most compelling.

This sonic breadth is noteworthy. I Know No Weekend recalls the textures of Traces of Weakness and echoes Ketev’s shades of techno, and even draws on the precision of Études. While this release doesn’t provide much of a stylistic departure from his previous work, Glotman’s incorporation of a wider spectrum of timbres and tones from his familiar palette proves that descriptions of his work as ‘haunting’ are certainly accurate. Saturated with rich manipulations of lower frequencies, the album is a stunning blend of thunderous and murky sounds. Maybe everyone is an artist, as Joseph Beuys once said, but this release is one among a discography that demonstrates that few are of the sort that Yair Elazar Glotman is.

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