Album of the Week: K-LONE - Swells | 2023 Week 27

Album of the Week: K-LONE - Swells | 2023 Week 27

British producer returns with his second album of deep and diverse electronic sounds that range from club vibes to ambient home listening and everything in between + new records from Aluna, Golden Features, Little Dragon, PJ Harvey and more!

For nearly a decade now, Josiah Gladwell has been part of the forefront of innovative English electronic music, both as co-founder of influential label Wisdom Teeth (alongside the don Facta), as well as his wide reaching productions and DJing as K-LONE.

With his sound evolving from deep, dark experimental club cuts to more melodic sounds across a wider range of genres and tempo, K-LONE’s debut album Cape Cira dropped three years ago, and was the result of “a short creative burst during a grim British winter, Cape Cira explores music as escapism, comprising a series of lush, warm vignettes that demonstrate music’s unique transportive power”.

Now K-LONE returns with album number two, Swells, a record that sees him take everything that made Cape Cira a gorgeous and engaging album, while pushing things back in a clubbier direction compared to the mellow sounds of his first full length while still keeping a restrained yet lush sound palette, packed with all manner of dreamy pads, leads and basslines.

Give his debut album, it comes as no surprise that K-LONE has once again avoided one of the common pitfalls of releasing a “dance music” album, with many ending up being more a collection of “club bangers” all sitting at the same tempo and with similar arrangements, rather than an album that tells a cohesive story like Swells does.

Across 10 tracks, Swells does just as the title implies as the energy of the album swells and contracts with a very satisfying sense of progression. Kicking off with the hypnotic, ambient downtempo opener Saws, it doesn’t take long for the record to take aim at the dance floor with the fun, bouncy upper tempo indie dance of Love Me A Little and the chilled-yet-driving sounds of Oddball and Strings.

Sitting in the middle of the record is the autonomic, halftime styles of Shimmer before the only feature on the record, as Gladwell teams up with the much loved Eliza Rose for the enchanting, head-nod inducing beats of With U, hypnotically processing Rose’s vocals in an addictive manner.

We get back to driving deep & hip house respectively on the one-two punch of Gel and Love Is before the skipping percussion & bleeps and bloops of Volcane. Allowing for nearly four and a half minutes of reflection is album closer Multiply, a gorgeous ambient composition of layered synths and finishing with some heavily processed, trippy vocals, providing the perfect outro for an album of impeccable sound design that will leave you reaching for the repeat button to do it all again.

The best of the rest of this week's records:

Aluna - MYCELiUM [Mad Decent] ENG

Electronic

ANOHNI and the Johnsons - My Back Was A Bridge For You To Cross [Rough Trade] USA

Alternative / Pop

Golden Features - Sisyphus [Warner Music Australia] AUS

Electronic

Julie Byrne - The Greater Wings [Ghostly International] USA

Alternative / Folk

Little Dragon - Slugs Of Love [Ninja Tune] SWE

Alternative / Electronic

Lonesome Dove - Sucked In [Pink House Records] AUS

Indie Rock

Local Natives - Time Will Wait For No One [Loma Vista Recordings] USA

Indie Pop

PJ Harvey - I Inside the Old Year Dying [Partisan Records / Liberator Music] ENG

Alternative

The Slingers - Sentimentalism [Flightless Records] AUS

Rock

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