Published May 05, 2016Idiosyncratic Estonian producer Mihkel Kleis flings charged particles of sound from his psyche into the air in such a way that intricate and obtuse creations emerge. Elements of dance music are present in his offerings as Ratkiller, yet these tropes are distorted, manipulated and juxtaposed into a lysergic stew of smooth jazz, '80s pop music, early electronic experimentation and rubbery funk.
This warped chill-out vibe is in full force on Odor Orienting, his latest cassette and first effort for the West Virginia-based Crash Symbols label. Opening with a free jazz-based drum/piano duel, "Not Enough to Understand" quickly shifts gears into a funky array of elastic bass and clattering percussion. "Sympathy," the first of two tracks featuring fellow countryman Benzokai, plays out like a damaged self-help tape. The weirdest and best piece on offer is "Bleed," in which a down-pitched poetry reading is tied to a shredding electric guitar before an invisible rug is yanked and the track is transformed into a cleverly assembled downtempo dance number.
Deliciously bonkers, Kleis' autodidactic approach to dance music is nimble enough to travel in many directions simultaneously without stretching itself too thin. (Crash Symbols)