Simon Klee is best known as the host of the excellent experimental electronic music mixcast Anticipating Nowhere. Found on Mixcloud, Klee champions the weird and wonderful world of leftfield electronica. From drone noise to synthwave and everything in between. Each “Anticipating Nowhere” episode is a highly recommended, sonic adventure along the least trodden musical pathways.
So it is no surprise, that a man with such a unique, eclectic ear for music should start composing his own soundscapes. Simon Klee’s first EP “When The Tide Went Out” is a delightful, low-fi, experiment in synth noise.
Recorded on an ipad, using synth apps, it was released on the independent label Subexotic Records. The EP opens with the dark & abrasive drone song “Earthen Pulse.” An exercise in dirty, and strangely hypnotic, white noise. A brave choice of song to open one’s first recorded release, a statement of intent perhaps. However, considering how delicate and beautiful the remainder of the EP plays out, it is probably more to do with Klee’s eclectic musical tastes.
On “It Got Wet, Then It Broke” Klee plays around with a soft pulse line adding drifting, panning, distorted layers, a gently meandering soundscape. The first and only broken beat comes in on the annoyingly short, “Stalactite” before the EPs most fragile, wistfully heartwarming track “The Oceans Wept Tears Of Pain and Sorrow.” The EP ends with the rising and falling, almost growling, distorted synths sounds of “Lava Bred.” As debut EPs go “When The Tide Went Out” is really, rather good. If you enjoy or are interested in experimental synth music, this is definitely for you.
So, you can understand the excitement when Subexotic Records released Simon Klee’s second EP, dryly or wittingly named “The Reciprocal Second.” Opening with “The Golden Age” it is instantly apparent that, although keeping to his low-fi, DIY roots, Klee’s sound has developed to be considerably grander and sonically richer than Klee’s debut.
“The Golden Age” has a dystopian film score sound to it. Out of a quirky, Sci-fi influenced, dark ambient soundscape comes a wonderful, scuttling, electronica beat, that wouldn’t sound out of place on a straight to VHS film from the early 80’s. “Temporal Transmutation” carries on the cinematic soundscape, except this time Klee takes us into the horror genre. The simple opening hook is menacing and sinister, it drifts away leaving a synth soundtrack reminiscent of eyes peering from shadows in the darkest of nights, before stalking back to steal the scene.
The title track “The Reciprocal Second” has a touch of the horror folk about it. The carrying drum has a “Wicker Man” sound, but that’s were the, similarities end. Quickly “The Reciprocal Second” builds into a swirling, swoosh of synths anchored by a distorted urgent beat. “Darkening Skies” is a song of contrasts. Switching back and forth between brooding synth pads and a commanding, continual, droning repeated note.
“When The Threat Has Passed” is almost a distorted dance floor filler. The song is driven by a hypnotic rhythm over which Klee expertly balances the layers of dirty sounding synth lines. The EP concludes with another of Klee’s more drone like sounding tracks, “Gamma Escape Sequence.“
“The Reciprocal Second” is an excellent opportunity to discover Simon Klee’s music. It’s safe to say it’s not going to be everyone’s taste. For example “Gamma Escape Sequence” not only emptied the room, but the household actually went into the garden! However, if you are looking for something a bit different, with a fresh take on the electronic music vein, then both of Simon Klee’s EPs are certainly worth investigating.