Review: Lu Katavist – Inburst

Lu Katavist - InburstLu Katavist does not sound in control. Like a child whose curiosity overpowers their tendency toward good behaviour, he lifts up flaps and pushes strange buttons, clueless to the consequences. Some sounds dribble out of holes like pus or goo. Others change tonal colour like an animal reacting to threat or heat. He’s an instigator rather than a composer, leading blindly with his index finger, applying just enough creative pressure to coax the sound into existence and then leaving it to bubble and mutate of its own accord. To call Inburst an electronic work implies control and stability (after all, even the most labyrinthine modular systems are closed loops of finite possibility). And while this album is the product of modular synthesis, it feels more feral than that; an extra-terrestrial bacterium in a petri dish, responding to familiar circumstances in the most unfamiliar ways. Lu Katavist and I observe and make notes together.

What strikes me first is the record’s sense of movement. Bass frequencies splutter and rebound during “Procession” with a gunk-like viscosity, while the microbial noises on “Neddle Sandwich” open and close like tiny fish gills. I hear alien states of panic and anxiety in how sounds scamper and suddenly flare up in fright. Illusionary calm shatters under abrasive noise, as jolts of volume cause the surrounding textures to scatter in fear. Another key observation is the fluid harmonic mood of Inburst. I encounter flickers of familiar tonality that place the record within the context of conventional music. The notes slide into the shape of major key and slip apart again, like the outlines of animals spotted momentarily in cloud formations. Elsewhere, the album communicates in harmonic tongues I don’t recognise: microtonal slurs and slants, often glacial and winking. It’s beautiful, although it takes me a moment to realise that.