Backtracking with Lenzman
Sontag Shogun

Black Top
Apollo Brown
Jeff Burch
Anla Courtis
Federico Durand
William Ryan Fritch
Goldberg, Levy, Dobson
Mitch Greer
Hiss Tracts
Kabale Und Liebe
Inigo Kennedy
Moon Zero
James Murray
Never Sol
N. A. Drift / Northumbria
P.J. Philipson
Pjusk / Sleep Orchestra
PRISM Quartet
David Ross & Clive Bell
Bruno Sanfilippo
Snoqualmie Falls
Alexander Turnquist
Kojiro Umezaki
The Westerlies
Brock Van Wey

Compilations / Mixes
Platinum Breakz Vol 4

EPs / Cassettes / Mini-Albums / Singles
Blind EP1
Matt Boettke
Brandon Hurtado
Kolectiv, Dexta & Mauoq
John Lemke
Mako, DLR & Fields
Frederic Robinson
Summons of Shining...
Tone Color

Stephen Vitiello

Kyoka: is (Is Superpowered)

If at first glance Kyoka seems like an unusual addition to the Raster-Noton club, a single listen to “Lined Up” on her first full-length album is (Is Superpowered) argues that she and the label—long associated with artists such as Olaf Bender (Byetone), Carsten Nicolai (Alva Noto), and Frank Bretscheider (Komet)—are a natural fit. On that song, staccato, glitch-saturated rhythms of the kind typical of Alva Noto give the material an immediate Raster-Noton stamp. But Kyoka also puts her own mark on the material by not only adding her own cut-up voice plus the cartwheeling vocal blur of a ragga voice to the song but by dynamically presenting the elements within a dynamic club-friendly context.

Her voice, which humanizes her cool, machine-generated productions, is used in a variety of ways, sometimes as fully formed melodies and sometimes in cut-up form as snippets. In tracks such as “Toy Planet” and “Moonboots,” Kyoka also creates material that satisfies on intellectual grounds for being artful and experimental yet also appeals at a physical level for being earthy and raw (check out the high-energy throwdown “Piezo Version Vision” for the album's most aggressive example). The aptly titled banger “Rollin' & Tumblin'” likewise brings forth the clubbier side of the Raster-Noton equation without losing sight of its cerebral character, while, even more surprisingly, “New Energy Shuffle” derives some of its kick from a B-Boy shuffle. Best of all is the body-mover “Re-Pulsion,” which scatters snippets of her fragmented voice across a bass-powered funk groove. Such tracks give the impression of Raster-Noton in party mode, letting its hair down and loosening up, and the move isn't unwelcome.

Bolstering the album's Raster-Noton pedigree is the fact that Bretscheider and Robert Lippok (of To Rococo Rot fame) were both involved in a production capacity on the project. It's not Kyoka's first appearance on the label, by the way, as the long-player was preceded by her first EP iSH in 2012. In sum, the forty-nine-minute is (Is Superpowered) exemplifies enough of a Raster-Noton identity to qualify as a legitimate member of its catalogue, while at the same time offering a departure from it in providing a listening experience that's more earthy, playful, and club-oriented than the label norm.

June 2014