Kassian – Yena [!K7 Records]

London outfit Kassian continue their broadly-evolving yet highly detailed journey through and beyond sound towards something ever more expansive. Their second release for !K7 Records comes in the wake of creating a dedicated hardware-forward studio in a Northeast London container complex, where they have the freedom to interlink their machines. This renewed focus brought them to Supercontinent EP, named for the ancient geological era when Africa and South America were joined as Pangea.

A reformulation of rhythmic ideas inspired by South African Amapiano and South American Baile Funk governs the two hemispheres of the record. The pair examine and deconstruct dancefloor material, eschewing 4/4 for interlocking shaker patterns, searing acid lines, cracking breakbeats, and vocal samples in Zulu and Brazil Portuguese.

The immediacy of the restless rhythm and bass-led funk of “Yena” forms a sweet spot where double-time and half-time can coexist. The word Yena translates to ‘he / him / man’, and the punchy male vocal loop punctuates the track’s deep swing, enhanced by amapiano log drums sped-up to a glassy pitch.

“Yami” (‘mine’ in Zulu) is a slinkier proposition which sheds prominent percussion in favour of a weighty, fluid, acid-informed bassline undulating from below. Contrasted against its jutting female vocals and sharp synth pads, the track cultivates dancefloor anticipation, accented by skittering percussion and time-stretched acid disintegration.

An ascending percussive riff marks the arrival of “Pulgueiro Baile”, followed closely by break beats and the nostalgia of distinctly British acid electro. While pulguero translates as ‘flea market’ there is nothing random to be found; it is an intentionally future-forward retelling of a vintage sound, replete with a mind-melt breakdown of rave pads.

A dubbed-out groove dominates the bottom-heavy “Sistema Baile”, established by a leading Roland System 1 synth line. It is a groovy, steady roller that chugs and propels and chugs with head-nod hypnotism through an intricately minimalistic approach.

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