High Wolf - Kairos: Chronos
French bedroom auteur and globetrotter lacks confidence but offers intriguing LP
(Not Not Fun)
Originally from France, High Wolf is an enthusiast of psychedelia and a global traveller, venturing across Europe, America, Australia and Asia in search of new sounds and a pan-cultural perspective. Disappointing then, given his exploratory interests and breadth of experiences, that Kairo’s opening track ‘Kulti’ doesn’t showcase its composer’s sense of adventure, its vanilla fusion of dub bassline, echo-soaked hand percussion and noodly guitar loops indistinguishable from a thousand feather-moustached purveyors of dayglo tropical future-psych.
With its polyrhythmic percussion, looming bass drone, electronic heat haze and wafting curls of melodic guitar, ‘Singularity’ is a far more engaging, intriguing and complex offering. However, its textures have barely begun to interweave when it just … stops. ‘RIP X’ suffers from a similar lack of confidence, its viscous bubbles and playful burbles rich with potential but slumping to a halt after just two and a half minutes – roughly 600 seconds too soon.
Although it accompanies a standard four-on-the-floor thud with some echoing six-string noodle, ‘707’ just feels far too obvious. Only in its beatless, dreamlike and (again) all-too-brief second half does it blossom into something original and truly lovely. Luckily, this delightful momentum continues into the intoxicating 13-minute closer ‘Alvarado’, which begins with a cultish drum circle and slowly mutates into a fantastically disorienting psychedelic cosmic stomp.
For something that seemingly aims for spiritual heights, Kairos:Chronos spends a little too much time stuck in mid-1990s chill-out rooms, regaling the people on the next cushion with tales of the amazing sticky bud it shared with a goat herder in Marrakech. There are genuine flashes of beauty and fascination and potential transcendence here, but all too rarely are they are given time to evolve. Ultimately, High Wolf gets there in the end – though as any traveller will tell you, the destination is less important than the journey.