Chairman Kato – Wildfire EP

Damn this is some interesting music. Dropping Monday on Pictures Music comes the digital release from Chairman Kato, London based artist who’s been getting some heat of late. To be honest I generally don’t go massively in for the drone-melody types of sounds, but there’s something about Kato’s productions that definitely made me check twice. It could be the fact that there’s a new producer NOT trying to sound like Joy Orbison or James Blake who’s promo info got through to us, but whatever the reason from the second listen I’ve been hooked on this guy.

In fact with joints from Duskky, NKC and Chairman Kato on my playlist right now, I’m feeling 2011 will be the best year we’ve seen for original music in time. Before I get too deep, there’s not much artist info to be added beyond what Sonic Router covered with their interview and mix from Chairman Kato last week, which you can check out and downloaded here: Sonic Router #67.

I’ve been lucky to sneak a listen to the forthcoming release, and the record lands between the beauty of a leftfield Paul White composition and the eccentric structuring of Loops Haunt (incidentally Mr Haunt if you’re reading this I’ve been trying to get in touch) – with the hypnotic stylings of Slackk thrown in for good measure. It’s darker than all three no doubt, deliberately sounding rough and gritty especially on first listen. In reality it might be the exact opposite, or possibly not caring whether if a sound was chopped to perfection so long as the combined elements can get through your ears and to the back of your mind.

The digi-EP in question is dropping on the 14th is titled Wildfire EP and I gotta say it’s a shame this is only coming digitally. Two tracks in particular – Streets Of Rage and Thuddd – I’d have loved to seen pressed up and dropped on physical. That said I’m still glad I was put on to this even if I can’t play it out, definitely one to stay on top of, and probably the first legitimate shout-out of the incredible Wendy Carlos since Tron was remade.

Check the full press release below and a track from forthcoming EP.

Wildfire is Chairman Kato’s debut release and PICT003. It’s a challenging record intelligently crafted from myriad influences pushed though analogue synths and tape machines, distorted and chopped at Kato’s studio on the top floor of an East London Synagogue.
Hazy soundscapes link these intricate and thickly laden synth productions ever trying to tear themselves apart with brutal and up front drums.

“I knew I wanted to make something that was cohesive and not necessarily something that was going to move dancefloors.
Over the last few months I have been listening to a lot of electronic music from back in the 70s and 80s when synths were new and there was a spirit of experimentation and excitement, way before the extensive proliferation of sub-genres. Synth pioneers like Chris Carter, Wendy Carlos and minimal wave composers from East Germany reminded me that electronic music is supposed to convey an emotion.”

Inspired by London after moving from a quieter place, Kato was moved by the sense of chaos, urgency and excitement that is in the air. It is written all over the sound.
Film has also hugely influenced this record. “’Tetsuo The Iron Man’ was a big influence on my music and encouraged me to distort my drums to create what a friend calls a ‘metal viscosity’. John Carpenter soundtracks are another strong influence as well as films like ‘Bladerunner’, ‘Terminator’, ‘Twelve Monkeys’ and others that predict dystopian visions of the future.”

A morphing soundscape builds from a bubbling opening to a slow straight rhythm that hints at the drum work that is yet to come. Many of Kato’s samples are resampled from tape several times. From this dark and moody beginning No Coincidence provides a rewarding fast beat, perhaps distantly related to hip hop.

The EP is centred around Streets of Rage, taking its name from the 90s brawler. Breathing like a living entity, the track develops from layer upon layer of brooding synth line, crackles pulsating against one another until released in a huge and euphoric climax that fills the sonic spectrum.

A rare glimpse of silence punctuated by a crackle brings in the brooding Gemini Eyes which opens with a slow dragging house beat. Nowhere more than here are the cinematic influences felt,evoking long drives through forests in the dark and rain. The hypnotic quality of this track leaves you completely unprepared for the sonic assault that is Thuddd, a track heavily laden with bass and distorted kick drums barely leaving room for anything else.