Sam KDC has been an integral part of ASC's, Auxiliary label over the past four years, with a series of EP's, remixes and collaborations. In 2012 Sam partnered with ASC on the haunting Decayed Society, a release which marked a defining period for ASC as he ventured further into the dark ambient realm alongside notorious albums on Silent Season. It also solidified Sam as a strong-arm on the label when it came to ambient music - a style he had only dabbled with on previous releases alongside his many electronica, techno and drum'n bass productions.
A full-length album was always on the horizon, but none of us expected it to take five-years to come to fruition. As Sam goes on to mention below and where many producers often relate, it has to be the right moment, or you need to be in the right frame of mind to make this kind of music, especially the introspective, emotional side of ambient music.
Sam KDC's new album, Late Night Innominate, is an ode to these very personal moments. Struggling to sleep, struggling to wake. Caught in a state of equilibrium, teetering on the edge of light, only to be pulled back into the shadows: "that feeling of recovery or those glimmers of hope"...
The album pans through heavy shaded textures with glimmers of color, slow burning melodies, haunting vocals and an ever present state of anxiety. Track (1) opens with warmth and optimism, before the more structured (and most relatable Auxiliary influence) on track (2) opens the floor for a more melodic expression. Each of the Untitled tracks are unquestionably yet subtly different, which is extremely hard to do across an ambient album - let alone your first. Pulling influences from his previous production techniques may have carved the way for more experimentation when it comes to the art of simplicity, but his play on loops and gradual builds is masterfully executed. My favorite track (5), concludes with the most energy out of the bunch, before a rumbling bass-driven, choral ending in (6), wraps up a stunning album that you'll find impossible to get lost in.
Late Night Innominate, was released last week, but I've been following Sam for a while now, collecting his many colorful vinyl appearances and secretly wishing for a purely dedicated ambient album since his partnership with ASC on Decayed Society, so his isolatedmix comes at a perfect time. Sam has revisited the feelings that were invoked during the album's production process with a unique blend of emotional, soul-touching music. Some of the tracklist may look familiar, but in a similar vein to his album, the journey is encapsulating and entrancing, told through some of the purest and most heartfelt of producers and songwriters of our time.
"I wanted to put together something that gave a little insight into where my mind was while working on the LP. It was a very on and off project because for me to write this type of music, I have to be in a very particular mental state, and it's not a state that's easily induced. It's like that feeling of recovery or those glimmers of hope, almost. Those moments where you've not given yourself over to full blown depression, where you can still function enough to get out of bed and care enough to record something. It's a rare state for me to be in, which is why the LP spans 5 years of recordings.
All of the music in this mix are tracks that have been with me in that special state. Some stemming back a lot farther than others, such as the Deftones or Nina Simone pieces. Some more recently, even coming into my life after the completion of Volume 1 of LNI, but still both nurse and reflect that mental state."- Sam KDC.
Late Night Innominate is available now via Auxiliary on marbled vinyl.
01. Klimek - For Zofia Klimek & Gregory Crewdson
02. Mogwai - Helps Both Ways
03. Deaf Center - Oblivion
04. Tropic Of Cancer - Temporal Vessels
05. The Verve - Beautiful Mind
06. Alessandro Cortini - Dell' Influenza
07. Isis & Aerogramme - Stolen
08. Deftones - Be Quiet & Drive (Acoustic Version)
09. Dadavistic Orchestra - Strung Valve Checkout
10. Jenny Hval - How Gentle
11. William Basinski - Melancholia II
12. Dark Dark Dark - Hear Me
13. Nina Simone - Plain Gold Ring
14. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Push The Sky Away
Klimek - For Zofia Klimek & Gregory Crewdson
I found this piece maybe 5 or so years ago, from a trailer for a film "Moon Lake" that my friend Gloria Petkova (who I worked with on vocals on Survive/Exist a couple of years ago) was in. It haunted me and took some digging to find out what it was. I was aware of Klimek's work already from his Milk & Honey LP on Kompakt, and finding this piece lead to discovering his Dedications LP which is incredible. This particular piece really stayed with me though.
Mogwai - Helps Both Ways
Come On Die Young has been in my life since those tender teenage years and I still reach for it regularly. One of those albums that you can just melt to. It was hard to pick just one track from it to play, they're all favourites.
Deaf Center - Oblivion
A more recent recommendation from ASC. Haven't heard anything from Deaf Center which isn't instantly moving.
Tropic Of Cancer - Temporal Vessels
When in the state that I spoke about earlier, Camella Lobo's work is perfect. Again, it was difficult to choose a piece of her's to include. "A Color" is probably the track I draw for the most, but I felt it's a little overplayed to include here, and this one fits the bill nicely.
The Verve - Beautiful Mind
It's just perfect. Goosebump inducing.
Alessandro Cortini - Dell' Influenza
Another recent one. I was never a NIN fan, and wasn't aware of Cortini's work until the release of this LP.
Isis & Aerogramme - Stolen
One to sink into the floor with.
Deftones - Be Quiet & Drive (Acoustic Version)
I didn't listen to any form of electronic music until this side of the millennium, before that I was all about grunge, metal, punk etc, but always had a real fondness of the quieter moments. Nirvana's unplugged was my favourite LP of theirs from it's release and when Deftones released the Be Quiet & Drive single and this was on the flip, it's resonated with me on that very special level ever since then. One of those pieces I will have years between hearing, and then when I do, it's a moment to be fully submersed in nostalgia.
Dadavistic Orchestra - Strung Valve Checkout
An ASC recommendation again. Bliss.
Jenny Hval - How Gentle
I think this is probably my soundtrack of regret. Not in a dark, remorseful or frustrated way, but in a curious almost playful sadness. A wondering of the possibilities of overcoming certain fears, for putting desire before preservation. That kind of thing. An almost lighthearted/dismissive contemplation of things that really cut to the bone, but pretending that perhaps they don't.
William Basinski - Melancholia II
Hearing Basinski's work for the first time all those years ago was a real turning point for me. I'd been a fan of ambient music for a while, enjoying albums by Brian Eno, Aphex Twin and the like of widely known artists, but The Disintegration Loops spoke to me on a level no other ambient had until that point. It was the first time a piece of music reduced me to tears upon the first time hearing it and opened up a whole new musical world for me. I don't know if I would have ever started writing ambient music if it wasn't for hearing Basinski.
Dark Dark Dark - Hear Me
I really don't remember how this piece came into my life, but I'm very glad it did. One of those "Hanging on in quiet desperation" moments.
Nina Simone - Plain Gold Ring
I love Nina Simone, and Plain Gold Ring is the ultimate immortalization of longing for the unobtainable.
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Push The Sky Away
More truth from the man. There's few LP's by Nick than I can really enjoy all the way through, as they often have a moment within them that's either a little too saccharine or a little too abrasive. But this album is amazing from start to finish. I would say it's his most accomplished work. The whole album is moving, haunting and very real and this piece that closes the album rings through long after you've finished listening.