Pre-Echo Press announce Beast, a new project & moniker from acclaimed Sound/Visual Artist, Koen Holtkamp (Mountains, Thrill Jockey). A somewhat radical departure from Holtkamp’s previous working modes where sound has typically been treated as an edifice to be sculpted, the works here are far more concerned with the generative possibilities of rhythm. The pieces on Beast developed out of Holtkamp’s creation last year of an audio-visual performance that centers on the physical properties of light via 3D laser projections. Rather than simply make a visual element for a piece of music (or vice-versa), Holtkamp created a system that intricately links every aspect of the performance, from the modular synth and virtual instruments to the constantly shifting projections of his “Color Phase” light installations. As form follows function, the sounds created here are by necessity more immediate, more off the cuff, more pattern oriented, and explore a much further range of dynamics than the somewhat amorphous (yet still gorgeous) work he’s become well known for. The work harkens back to Process Music of the 1970s, being simultaneously minimal & maximal (think Jon Gibson), as well as the the lush pop-minimalism of early 1980s Soft Verdict, all the while remaining thrillingly contemporary.
Beast Volume One was recorded in real time and is presented with minimal edits to divide it into three pieces, and is the slightly rawer & more abandoned of the two volumes, while Beast Volume Two is a more “in studio” version, and as such retains a more palpable air of elegance while still remaining a side of the same coin.