Review: Kostis Kilymis – Bethnal Greener

Kostis Kilymis - Bethnal GreenerSpinning tops. Electronic pulsations rotate and stutter off balance. There are many moments on Bethnal Greener where stasis exists against the will of surrounding forces; some drones crackle like lights cutting out, while others slump out of tune as though powered by a dying petrol motor. And then there are signals that reach me through the pop and patter of collected dust and other interfering debris, like old submarine monitoring equipment revived and plugged back in, the circuitry groaning beneath rust and the wane of age. Each sound comes cloaked in the sensation of intense, laboratory-bound concentration. I can almost visualise Kostis Kilymis nudging each audio specimen with the back of a scalpel, eyes narrowed upon the writhing strand of sound sat in the petri dish.

Even the moments of clutter and bustle feel subdued. A flapping oscillation sits upon the grunt of lorries three-point turning, as headaches of noise and sine seep into the margins of my brain. Yet the manner in which the music unfolds is still ultimately patient and steady-handed. While permitting the occurrence of chance nuance and flicker, Kilymis controls the variables enough so that no sound leaps into the frame unannounced; each is carefully winched into audibility using slow fades, retaining constant awareness of the impact to the balance of the piece as a whole. High-pitched tones are a recurrent theme, burning like a manifestation of pure concentration, retaining Kilymis’ compositional process – and me, in fact – within a state of high-alert.