Aardvarck: Titi
Eat Concrete

With twenty-five tracks squeezed into a seventy-three-minute running time, Aardvarck's (Mike Kivits) Titi can't help but seem more like a collection of sketches and mood pieces than extensively worked-out compositions of dramatic narrative design (an impression reinforced by track titles such as “Nl,” “Tldt,” etc.). As a result, the collection makes more of an impact on cumulative grounds than in terms of individual pieces. Kivits' second Aardvarck full-length solo release began to take shape during the late ‘90s and early ‘00s (around the time the debut album Find the Cow appeared on Delsin Records in 2002), and developed from then on as a constant work-in-progress. If there's a prevailing mood, it's one that's slightly dark and ruminative, with brooding keyboard melodies and motifs often at cross-purposes to the robust beat patterns flickering alongside. Influences are many—Detroit techno, funk, ambient, dubstep, hip-hop, and (especially) broken beat all declare themselves at one time or another—and B12, Black Dog, and early Warp could be cited as additional touchstones for Aardvarck's sound. The album includes slippery beat workouts where Kivits pairs keyboard meander and laid-back funk rhythms (“Nutelt”), ambient-broken beat fusions of ethereal character (“Dlunte”), ambient vignettes (“Unttld,” “Etuti”), thudding acid grooves (“Untitle,” “New Acid”), crushing beat blaze (“Idlunt”), hip-hop sketches (“Teutld”), and futuristic Detroit techno-influenced settings (“Tldt”). Certain tracks stand out from the crowd, such as “Ednui,” which sprinkles elegant acoustic piano playing across a serenading head-nodding beat. Kivits' tracks, even those that are most fleeting, are mercurial and elusive animals that refuse to stay rooted in one place for long, and as such one keeps listening despite the trip's excessive number of stopping points.

December 2009