Krampfhaft KrampfhaftMakin’ Magic EP
RWINA (RWINA014, 12” + digital)
Having caused quite a stir in recent months with his bonkers take on the juke/footwork aesthetic via the “Spit Thunder” 7” on Saturated Records, Dutch producer Krampfhaft returns for more; this time on Rwina with the “Makin’ Magic EP”.
The EP is very much in keeping with the recipe which made his previous release so special, namely an approach to the juke/footwork templates which I’ve decided to call “turbo” (following a discussion with a friend last month, where we pondered what made the work of many recent Dutch producers so fascinating and came to the conclusion that there was something about it that was just “turbo”). “Turbo” in the sense that the music feels like an exaggerated take on certain templates and aesthetics – especially in the lead melodies – yet manages to make the exaggerations come off as truly exhilarating as opposed to over the top for its own sake (aka shit). It sounds weird, yet feels like the best adjective to describe what his music makes you feel. On “Makin’ Magic” Krampfahft doesn’t just limit himself to Chicago’s juke/footwork, he also touches on dubstep templates and applies a similar approach that makes the EP sound big and bonkers – especially on a sizeable system.
He opens proceedings with “I Needed You”, with a sped up female vocal giving a sense of calm before the storm. Soon enough the beats kick in closely followed by ominous synth lines and once the drop hits with its overly cheesy yet deliciously addictive and irresistible lead melody, you find yourself with a glow stick in hand raving it up – at least I did, in my head. “Hyper Dreaming” follows with a gentler build up that unravels into a rolling riddim, once again backed by a lead melody that’s as catchy as anything you’ll hear on mainstream radio. If anything, and despite its title, “Hyper Dreaming” is the most subdued track on here - a production that works in subtle and satisfying ways showing Krampfahft is capable of more than dancefloor smashers.
“Carl Sagan The Man” is not only the funniest track title I’ve heard in ages, it’s also the highlight of the EP, combining his turbo approach to juke/footwork – best heard on this track via its ultra clean drum patterns, which are far from Chicago’s more hectic and alien rhythms – with another lead melody that’ll worm its way into your brain for weeks. It’s as if he’s found a way to transpose the energy and cheesiness of gabber, into a modern, club friendly environment. It’s not too dissimilar to what Araab Muzik achieved with his recent “Electronic Dreams” beat tape. “Makin’ Magic” closes the physical release - an ecstatic number that makes beautiful use of a vocal hook, contrasting hyper-colourful melodies and chords with a half step riddim. The digital release also includes “Faux Art”, which goes straight for the jugular with a rolling dubstep riddim that also has turbo written all over it.
“Makin’ Magic” should well and truly see Krampfhaft establish himself as one of the most exciting producers in Europe currently messing with established templates - and fucking up the rave in the process. He brings a certain je ne sais quoi, that anyone with a raving backbone will find very hard to resist. The turbo thing is a joke, yet the more I use it the more I find that it’s somehow quite accurate in capturing the emotions his music brings up. What comes next is likely to be just as exciting.