Immediately, upon finally listening to Berlin based KAREEM’s latest record PORTO RONCO, I was thinking, “Man, this should have been on my year end list”. And I’m still thinking that now, because this record is unreal. Put it on and enter a new head space. For me, that ability to tap into such mind fields has always been a hallmark of a certain kind of great record. This is the stuff you want on your headphones when you are on your very own psychogeographic quest. KAREEM has put something in this music, and I don’t know exactly how he did it, but now it’s in my ear and seeping onto and into my brain.
Known for industrial techno and moody instrumental hip-hop, PORTO RONCO arrives as a completely different kind of experience. Patrick Sottrop, the man behind KAREEM and the ZHARK BERLIN label (not to be confused with the similarly moniker-ed ZHARK INTERNATIONAL label that is run by KAREEM’s former label partner HECATE) here passes unto us his first essentially beat-less recording. And it is stunning. A brain massage of constant movement, and incredible organic flow. This is ambient music with something alive inside of it. It is the sound of living, and while living, knowing that something is out there and at some point you’re going to find out what it is. But of course you don’t know when. KAREEM needs to get into film or documentary scoring because the slow burn motion that he is able to create in his music lends itself to that form.
Gazing out onto Boston Harbor on this quite cold, and surprisingly snowy New England day I am listening to PORTO RONCO and staring out at the Atlantic Ocean, and where it’s come to find me. If I didn’t have to work this would be the perfect kind of day to drift right on through the city, with some of the best musical accompaniment I could imagine for such a thing. But I have to work. I have a baby on the way you know. A single 45 minute piece in it’s original form (that’s what you can find streaming below), there is also a 30 minute long edit created by KAREEM for the version found on vinyl. This is one situation where I think I might have to stay away from the vinyl, such is the beauty, horror and total wonder of the full version that I know (I do WANT to check out the shorter version however). I really enjoy some of KAREEM’s other records, but this record is one of the more wonderful and organic long form experimental electronic pieces of music that I’ve heard in a long while. Seriously you have to remember the likes of CONRAD SCHNITZLER or some of his fellow travelers who passed through the Zodiak Free Arts Lab to find such vast, and simultaneously empty and horror filled landscapes delivered completely by sound wave. A deep (as in ocean deep), high (as in the vast nothingness filled with small bits of something of space, high). A deep high. Listen to this. Out on the UK’s THE DEATH OF RAVE label since mid-2013.