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Kuedo KuedoWork, Live & Sleep In Collapsing Space

8.4 / 10

Kuedo had been silent since last October, apart from the odd live show and that discretion is respectable: some people are worth more because of what they're not saying rather than what they are. After an album like “Severant”, a strong contender against Rustie's debut for the title of Best Electronic Album of 2011 (and maybe even Best Album, period), one has to calculate very carefully what one's next step will be. It's no light task. A reputation has been established, which cannot be demolished just like that and Jamie Teasdale chose to do the wisest thing: to leave enough space between the two releases - so that they will be treated with similar interest - to measure the data, and to keep following the same path, applying the strictest quality control. That way, “Work, Live & Sleep In Collapsing Space” (a title hard to memorise but holding all the romantic and/or dystopian charm of 70s science fiction, between Sheckley and Philip K. Dick), becomes the perfect complement to “Severant”: a galactic fantasy built around some charging arpeggios, a first break with a footwork flavour, and high-pressure synths - accumulating (simultaneously) layers of oxygenated purity and of high contamination, until you're completely surrounded by a cosmic mist, lost. It's four and a half minutes, but when you're in there, it sounds like the real-time creation of a civilisation that is millions of years old, advanced and complex.

The 12” is completed with two remixes. The one by Laurel Halo sounds like an extension of “Quarantine”, only without the vocals (obviously) and with extra, vaguely Eastern melodies (like an old piece by Sakamoto from the early 80s), that sound as sweet as bamboo-cane with a melancholic trace of travellers lost in space, longing to go home. Laurel Halo builds her version on nebulous textures (or maybe that should be liquid: the bass sounds like bubbles in boiling water), sounding like an ambient reprise of Kuedo's original. The second refix is by Claude Speed (the American Men member gave it the subtitle “Infinity Ultra Rework”) and is even more sliding, more nitrogen-like, extended to almost eight minutes. It makes this release, the three pieces together, a dream-like continuum, giving you the feeling of going ever deeper into the sleeping conscience, until you're lost in limbo (where Jivraj Singh's voice is floating. It is finished with synths inherited from the great European tradition of cosmic music, and an agitated break that could be part of the imaginary soundtrack of a remake of “Drive” set in a galaxy far, far away, 2000 years from now.

The only thing lacking from “Work, Live & Sleep In Collapsing Space” to make it a timeless masterpiece is new Kuedo material. Even though the remakes are brilliant, something is missing, maybe because the 16 minutes of music are so good, it leaves one hungry for more. Nevertheless, this is a fierce candidate for best single of 2012. Others may come who do an even better job, but they are going to have to be incredibly good to improve on Kuedo.

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