Kangding Ray is the project of David Letellier, and this is his first album, from 2006, released on the splendid Raster-Noton label. It is a suite of elegant, introspective and beautiful electronica. Lush yet airy synths glide back and forth in waves - a lot of reversed samples are used, and the percussion is mostly the purely electronic clicking, tapping variety, deployed in a restrained fashion. Some tracks are dominated by the highly musical synth arrangements, and others get a bit of a groove going - 'Sub.res' introduces a throbbing bass tone, some sampled acoustic guitar, and a wider variety of percussive noises to build a gently rocking rhythm. 'Mai' is an exquisite construction - gently pulsing arpeggios of a variety of sounds sweep across each other in a vaguely melancholic haze. 'Nine' rocks it up again, with an Autechre-like beat and some sub bass over a clanking machine noise, then the album finishes with a lovely, luminous synth-only piece called 'Wellen'. Fantastic stuff - also highly recommended is the Pruitt Igoe EP from last year, and his second album 'Automne Fold' which has some heavier beats, some vocals, and also some ominous and scary distorted synth waves used to great effect, but retains the rich musicality.
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