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Beautiful You Kareem Ghezawi , April 17th, 2019 08:33

Khotin cleans out the detritus from your ear canals. Latest full length, Beautiful You, is a record that never overloads the canvas, finds Kareem Ghezawi

Khotin has always flirted with house music but never truly embraced it. It’s in his downtempo dream-like sequences where he seems to have found his musical raison d'être. Originally self-released last year to a quiet round of applause, Beautiful You has been rightfully re-pressed for a larger audience by Ghostly.

Much like the record itself, the singular keystrokes that start off the intro ‘Welcome’ trace a series of elementary but compelling gestures that never probe for a reaction. In this way, they manage to create a genuine and heartfelt one. Like previous Khotin albums, New Tab and Hello World, their latest release makes few demands on the ear, and it’s that humility that lies at the source of its wide appeal.

There is an effortless synergy in its organically placed cycles of loops and samples. Even though the temptation is there, Khotin never overloads the canvas. He maintains a level of minimalism, utilizing just enough layers that the frame never feels overcrowded. The result is a lo-fi sepia-saturated soundscape that has a sense of understated dynamism to it, like snapshots of quiet movement and hushed activity. A fuzzy loop of pastoral hues interposed with gentle washes of playful chords that emits a buddha-like glow all of its own.

In ‘Levi’s Synth’, Khotin emulates the atmosphere of spring, with its birdsong, background forest noise and placid cadences. The tribal bongo taps of ‘Water Soaked in Forever’ form a mellow pulse for the floating synths to drift in and out of. The disaffected voice samples, hazy sleepwalking synth-loops and evocations of nature and nostalgia on the LP draw comparisons to Boards of Canada, particularly on ‘Looping Good’ and ‘Planet B’.

The vintage ACII-rendered aura of Beautiful You shines through in ‘Alla's Scans’. One of the more rhythmic and weighty tracks on the record, it’s the aural equivalent of watching a late-night 80s TV montage of competition hotlines while the rest of the world sleeps.

The record is a testament to Khotin’s innate ability to paint something bright and bold from a palette of few colours. It marks the definitive example to date of his keen understanding of space, placement and melody. Armed with a keyboard and some samples, Dylan Khotin-Foote cleanses the detritus of this year’s more violent and contrived music from the ear canals. It’s like a massage so subtle sometimes you forget you're even having one. Elevator music so profound you miss your floor.