Review: Kentin Jivek – No Age

kentin-jivek-no-ageEverything floats freely in the darkness. Guitars allow themselves to be swept into improvisatory inclination, ambling through folk phrases as if struck by intermittent memory loss, forever finding the thread of melody and losing it again. Drones and electronics splay at the behest of gigantic echoes: some high and shimmering like torch beams, others emanating a glacial chill. At the centre of it all is the voice of Kentin Jivek, whose vibrato feels paradoxically strong and uncertain; bellowing in conviction, wavering with the snag of tiny doubts, wandering in and out of the rhythm as if somewhat reluctant to join it. Where songs are usually built upon instruments that abet the channelling of sentiment, Jivek’s accompaniment seems to be either conspiring against him or simply failing to fulfil their function, sliding between forward motion and slurps of reverse, driven by rhythms that stray from the tempo of the music elsewhere. His trembling bellow communicates an inner conflict: a feud between the urge to admit defeat in the wake of fate that conspires against him, and the determination to push forth regardless.

With audible anxiety, he steps forward into the black. On “Dope On Your Chest”, keys and drum samples are scattered across the frame like smashed ceramic fragments, as choir pads float like the dust kicked up during the impact. “Samourai” sounds like an slice of 80s electronic pop banished and left to wither in the depths of a cave, with shimmering synths and a lurching beat somehow defying the inevitability of rotting away. Even on the likes of “Erased + Deleted”, whose major keys and dusky ambient shades seem to signal a slight upturn in outlook, the music is still structurally shattered. Instruments protrude like the stubborn columns of a part-demolished building, standing triumphant in spite of the desolation amidst which we stand. Standing precariously upon these stranded clumps of instrument, Kentin Jivek declares himself to a non-existent subject, alternating between languages as if exploring the articulatory possibilities of each, confessing to murderous desires and stewing on moments of misunderstanding. Can anybody hear him?