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KOAN Sound – Dynasty | EP Review

KOAN Sound – Dynasty EP | Review

KOAN Sound - Dynasty EP

Credit: PR

Back in 2005, when KOAN Sound brought us their Max Out EP, it was clear that this duo from Bristol were here to shake things up. The atmospheric, spaghetti western soundtrack ‘Trouble In The West‘ or ‘One Hand Clap‘, an example of a KÃ…an, which means a story, question or statement that intends to provoke great doubt in Zen Buddhist students during their practice i.e What is the sound of one hand clapping? These tracks helped to secure their place in the electronic music scene. Since then KOAN Sound have spread out their feelers in search of new influences to produce the Funk Blaster, Adventures of Mr. Fox and Sanctuary EP‘s; none of which need any introduction. Now they are back with Dynasty EP which doesn’t stray too far from their previous offerings but refines them in delectable ways.

The first track on the EP is 7th Dimension. A softer departure from their usual maximum-force style but with no less emphasis on sound design, the track takes influence from funk and laid back hip hop beats before dropping into a more familiar, punchy drum kit and the kind of swinging, plucked synth bass that is guaranteed to get your head bobbing. The track moves between these high and low impact parts of the song, before moving onto a slow serenade of whizzes, stabs and sensual rhodes chords that signify the end of the journey through the 7th Dimension.

KOAN Sound have a thing for sounds from the  far east. In a similar vein to their track ‘Introvert‘ the second track on the EP, ‘Dynasty‘ makes use of oriental plucked instruments that create an epic and adventurous atmosphere, which precedes a drop with noises that can only belong to that of KOAN Sound. A percussive movement  somewhere between shaker and the death throws of a dragon on gravel, the adventure continues with a perilous turn before resting again in organic, squelchy drums and pulsating, Neurohop basses.

Infinite Funk returns to KOAN Sound‘s funk influences for an upbeat, bass slapping, glitched up feast. This track has the least impact on me, I like all the elements that go in to making it but some how I feel like I’ve heard them before, as if they have been inspired by their own music to make it. The track is by no means boring with all it’s movement and energy but I’ve gotten used to a KOAN Sound that produces each song from a completely different angle.

The last track on the EP, Lost In Thought plunges you into a dreamlike state with it’s pads, lightly pressed piano keys dripping in reverb and snare brushes that leave you with nothing to do but let it all wash over you. This is a soothing listening experience in excellent contrast with the EP’s previous three tracks. While again, this track bares very close similarities to much of their other music like their Sanctuary EP with Asa and, to mention again, ‘Introvert‘, I mind much less because it’s still fresh coming from artists with deep roots in heavy Dubstep and Glitch Hop.

In my opinion KOAN Sound‘s Dynasty EP is a success. It highlights the refinement of their skills in sound design and their ability to generate a wide range of the most specific of atmospheres. I do feel though, that their next release should switch things up even further, with new ideas and influences so as to avoid stagnation, but with KOAN Sound‘s previous track record of innovation I have no doubt we’re in safe hands.

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