KUF: Odyssee

New to the always-adventurous Macro is KUF, a three-piece live outfit whose debut EP for the label is as genre-defying as expected. The brainchild of keyboard player Tom Schneider, bassist Valentin Link, and drummer Hendrik Havekost, KUF sprinkles its organic grooves with vocals but in novel manner: no singer is physically present; instead, Schneider threads self-recorded vocal samples into the music on the fly, resulting in a raw attack that oozes spontaneity and unpredictability.

Adding to the twenty-minute EP's appeal is the hummable quality of the tunes, with the title track an especially ear-catching entity. With a drum intro that vaguely suggests Mike Clark's on Herbie Hancock's “Palm Grease” (Thrust, 1974), “Odyssee” digs into its funky groove from the drop, and the trippy vocal chirps and hot-wired synth flourishes that follow only deepen the cut's allure. With the rhythm section supplying all kinds of dazzle to the proceedings, Schneider throws out repeated volleys of keyboard radiance and vocal sweetener on this arresting opener. KUF revisits the track on the B-side, this time reshaping it into an endlessly percolating club workout without losing the essence of the original in the process; a bit of acidy squelch surfaces during the seven-minute ride but never so much that the track becomes a straight-up raver.

Elsewhere, the trio dims the lights ever so slightly for the less frenetic but no less captivating “Wildlife,” with keyboard trills scattered across a grooving bottom end that sounds anything but programmed, before exiting with a brief low-rider called “Staring at the Sky” whose jam packs no small amount of R&B flavour.

March 2016