Konx-Om-Pax - Selective Recall
- Mark Keane
- 18 September 2013
Collection of previously unreleased work feels like an unfinished journey
There’s a line in this album’s press release that reads: ‘Scholefield devotes most of his creative energies to directing music videos and designing cover artwork for labels.’ The Scholefield in question is Tom, the man behind Konx-om-Pax, his electronic / ambient / outer limits alter ego. An undoubted talented and in-demand video director and graphic artist, Scholefield has worked with labels Warp, UR and Hyperdub, and artists such as Hudson Mohawke and Mogwai. But going by his PR, this new album is not what really takes precedence when it comes to divvying up his ‘creative energies’. So is this the project of a skilled polymath who can happily flit between the twin totems of music and art, or simply the dabblings of a well-connected moonlighter? Well, typically, it’s a bit of both.
Selective Recall might be pockmarked with bright moments of invention but is inconsistent and lacks a clarity of vision. That said, it doesn’t claim to be anything else, stating pretty openly that it’s a collection of previously unreleased work made during Scholefield’s final year of study at Glasgow School of Art. It’s the nascent explorations of a musician foraging in a vast sonic landscape, often unearthing something unique, other times not.
It feels like an unfinished journey, lacking a real permanence to truly captivate the listener. There is noise, glitchy electronica, some structured beats, floaty ambience, conceptual clatter and the occasional throbbing groove. An unfussy and charming lack of pretence dominates the whole collection; even if Scholefield was influenced by sonic vangaurdists John Cage and Yasunao Tone in this voyage of discovery, there is little here with the weight of such lofty forebears.
Following up last year’s delicate and understated debut album Regional Surrealism, you would expect Scholefield’s second full-length album proper, due out next year on Planet Mu, to show his true hand. Here, on this clear-out exercise, he displays a scattergun talent for composition that dips backwards into his career, away from a future that will no doubt yield serious rewards.