Klein – Lifetime Review

Since her debut on Hyperdub, London experimental producer and sound artist Klein has proved to be one of the most interesting artists in circulation. Her music is a complex and intriguing sounds collage from the most disparate origins, the result of field recordings subjected to a continuous process of reworking and distortion. After more than a year of gestation, Lifetime – her new album as well as the first release for her new label ijn inc. – is finally out.

Looking at the LP as a whole, you can for sure find elements recalling black history, from gospel music – citing James Cleveland – to the 20’s American race movie – in “We Are Almost There” she takes a sample directly from a movie starring Spencer Williams. But there are also extremely intimate, almost personal traits: in “Honour”, different voices are heard talking – perhaps the artist herself is one of them? – in a climate that seems so familiar but also so tense that you can almost feel its anger. What unites all the tracks of Lifetime is the operation of de-contextualization and reconstruction of the sound elements carried out by the artist: by taking sound material she found herself in contact with and reworking it, Klein pastes it in her collages following an inscrutable narrative logic and gives it a new meaning. That’s why, although each track has its own completeness in itself, Lifetime can be seen as a sort of introspective diary – as Klein herself explained.

Focusing on samples and field recordings, the sound space of the album has few rhythmic elements – except for the beats in “Claim it” and the splendid drums solo in “Silent”. Another touching moment where a traditional instrument emerges is when Matana Roberts’ sax appears in “For What Worth”. Except for these few moments, the sounds are more abstract, from the white noise in the “Listen and See as They Take” finale to the rarefied noises of “Honour”. Overall a beautiful chaos that Klein’s sensitivity manages to make inviting.

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