Jeff Pearson, November 7, 2012
Calling Glen Boothe, the young Philadelphia native who releases music under the name Knxwledge, a “prolific” producer would be a drastic understatement. Since emerging on the scene with his debut release, Klouds, in 2010, Knxwledge has released a steady stream of tracks through his Soundcloud and, at this point, too many EPs and mini-albums to count. By the time this article will have published, it wouldn’t be out of the question for him to have released six more EPs. He has garnered his own genre metatag in “Wonky” and matched the pace with which he has released his music with consistency. Not only with the sheer volume of his output in the past couple of years, but also in the richly experimental tinge that his music bears, Knxwledge is carrying the torch for beat makers like J Dilla and Madlib while carving out his own very defined place in music. With his latest full-length, koapastetik.LP., he has further established that definition while simultaneously paying homage to his deepest influences.
Though the record may sound like a sketchbook, a collection of shards of ideas to form full songs down the line, this is just the way Knxwledge likes it. Part of the fun of koapastetik.LP. is the constantly shifting tones as the beats filter in and out of one another. They’re not supposed to sound like full songs; instead, the tracks are meant to serve as glances through a foggy glass pane, where as soon as you think you have a grasp on the world behind it, it rapidly shifts, showing you a completely new landscape. Each fluttering beat that passes through the listener’s speakers is a glimpse into Booth’s mind, and much like our own thoughts, the superficially frenetic changes within koapastetik.LP. serve to mimic the mind’s somewhat fractured processes.
This isn’t to say Knxwledge’s work can’t serve as songs; Joey Bada$$ used a fleshed-out version of “WhºK∆res” from SKR∆WBERRiES.FUNR∆iSRS VOL.3 for a track on his 1999 mixtape, and even throughout Knxwledge’s already extensive discography there are plenty of tracks where he lets the beat fully blossom before ripping it out of the ground to start planting a new seedling. One such example from koapastetik.LP. is “mysunshine[myne],” a funked-out edit of Mtume’s “You Are My Sunshine,” where Knxwledge tweaks the vocal samples in such a way that the repeated phrase, “Everyday it’s getting stronger,” sounds less like the mantra of positivity it was in 1984 and more like the eerie broken-record ramblings of manic peering at the sky, talking about the pull of extraterrestrial beings on his brain. It is in this regard that Knxwledge bears his closest resemblance to late-era Dilla—the way that Dilla told his goodbyes through Donuts, with the manipulation and warping of samples, is the same way that Knxwledge is saying hello to the world all throughout koapastetik.LP.
Of course, simple comparisons, as they often do, would be underselling what Knxwledge has done with this record. His inspirations may be on his sleeve, but he is not a direct reflection of them and that is important. Throughout the—somehow—frenetically relaxing twenty minutes of koapastetik.LP., he runs the gamut of soul, hip-hop, funk and jazz, while using the ribbon of his skittering rhythms to tie the whole project together and give it his unique touch. On tracks like “oldstep.” and “rydeowt.,” Knxwledge keeps the tracks loosely tethered to his deeply-rooted syncopation, giving the listener a sense of rhythmic disorientation. That looseness is perhaps Knxwledge’s greatest quality; he has a keen ear for rhythm and can provide a very tangible backbeat to nod along to while melodic accompaniments fritter away from the epicenter like satellites with failing machinery. With koapastetik.LP., however, the machinery is operating exactly as its developer intended. The familiarities that float by like a dream are meant to feel out of reach from the undercurrent of the record; on “wishuwerehere.,” a deep, steady hip-hop pattern keeps the listener grounded while a distant vocal wisps by, calling to mind a fleeting feeling or an idea that slips away before it ever truly became an idea.
The record itself plays like that, too. With such a short runtime, koapastetik.LP. feels like it is over before it ever really got started, but the good thing about Knxwledge is that he won’t leave his fans waiting for too long before his ephemeral beats return to their headspaces.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE:
|CLEAR SOUL FORCES – DETROIT REVOLUTION(S)||KENDRICK LAMAR – GOOD KID, M.A.A.D CITY||A3C HIP-HOP FESTIVAL 2012 – SATURDAY|