K-X-P are an experimental krautrock trio from Finland. Their debut self-titled album is reminiscent of post-industrial punksters Add N to X and a very listenable retro analogue version of 1970s krautrock such as Neu! and the synth punk of Suicide.
Born from the ashes of seminal Finnish groups Op:l Bastards and And The Lefthanded, K-X-P first came to the attention of the Smalltown Supersound record label when they heard demos from a series of loosely organised studio sessions organised by former ‘Bastards’ and ‘Lefthanded’ man Timo Kaukolampi.
When asked how Finland and imparticular Helsinki have influenced K-X-P’s sound Timo Kaukolampi answered “Finland and Helsinki were fashionable 10 years ago, as was the notion of Finnish ‘weirdness’ Finland is not weird. The internet is weird. We are Finns. Draw your own conclusions.”
The music is a wonderful concoction of experimental electronics, kraut, noise, punk, rock and pop all wrapped in an hypnotic and minimalist electric blanket.
The eight track album opens with Elephant Man. Distorted analogue synths set the tone, reminiscent to a lo-fi 1970’s low budget sci-fi b-movie soundtrack. Rhythmic pounding tribal drums accompanies a mesmeric riff that builds in intensity at the same time as making me feel rooted to the spot.
K-X-P is deep and intense but very accessible and non-exclusive to bearded long-hairs who prefer to talk to humans, if at all, through a keyboard; and while every track displays a love for 1970’s krautrock K-X-P have taken certain ingredients from other electronic music genres and sounds from both the more commercial 1980’s and dance infected 1990’s to deliver a great debut album.
Pockets is the closest the album gets to synth pop though the track is too dark to have appeared on Top Of The Pops alongside the likes of Depeche Mode and Soft Cell. While New World could easily pass off as a track from New Order’s debut album Movement. But for me, the best track but no way a stand-out track, is 18 Hours (Of Love) which starts with an electronic sounding diggeree doo before a sequencer reminiscent to Goldfrapp’s Ooh La La picks the track up. Both tracks include a vocal from Timo Kaukolampi who is also credited with “electronics”. Other main members are bass player Tuomo Puranen and percussionist Anssi Nykänen.
For the past month K-X-P hasn’t travelled far from my CD player and I know it’s only February but is by far the best album I’ve heard this year; and I’d be surprised if it doesn’t appear on several best albums of 2011 lists come December.
Folllowing a short UK tour including an absorbing performance at the Lexington in London, the self-titled debut album from K-X-P is released on 21st March 2011 on the Norwegian label, Smalltown Supersound.