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ARTIST
TITLE
Zoetrope
FORMAT
CD

LABEL
CATALOG #
MELO 091CD MELO 091CD
GENRE
RELEASE DATE
4/15/2014

If the scattershot ideas of Melodic Records' schizophrenically brilliant Manchester experimentalists Working From A Nuclear City seemed to be aural metaphors for a galactic explosion, then King Of The Mountains, the new project of their songwriter, keyboardist and producer Phil Kay, hones in on a singular galaxy hurtling away from the blast's initial impact into the cosmos. With his debut solo LP, the now-London-based artist detaches himself from his band's tumult of sonic thoughts and sets flight for more cohesive plains. King Of The Mountains is built largely around electronics but with its creator embellishing these artificial sounds with a variety of live instrumentation. There are wonderfully interwoven structures, ranging from swelling, tempestuous dancefloor filler to richly-textured maps of gently bustling sound and ambient secretions. King Of The Mountains contains grandeur even among its more direct four-to-the-floor yearnings; tracks like the sprawling "Zoetrope" are constantly looking for pathways out of their tightly-meshed digital fabric, while the likes of "Surrounded" seek to stimulate the imagination, offering woozy half-light evocations. For a decade, Kay was part of the aforementioned Working For A Nuclear Free City -- who produced three critically-acclaimed albums between 2006 and 2011 and saw their music included in numerous TV series, films and advertisements (including the very first cook-up scene in Breaking Bad). However, he found his and co-songwriter Gary McClure's tunes were starting to drift further apart. It's true that there isn't much battling to be found here, with each track as though a different world, like moving through levels on an old arcade computer game. What differs between this and WFANFC though, is that there's a thread holding them together -- elements that recur and snaps of sound that come back to you. Kay does most of his electronic work on antiquated software, using Windows XP and the same software he has for the past decade, relishing in attempting to challenge their limitations. While his gear remains the same, though, Kay's wandering mind is always in flux -- epitomized in this brilliant debut solo effort.