KRM & KMRU – Disconnect (Phantom Limb)


Disconnect, the debut collaboration between Cyclic favourite Kevin Richard Martin (The Bug, Zonal, Techno Animal etc) and Kenyan ambient musician and sound artist Joseph Kamaru (KMRU) is incredibly good. Disconnect feels like Martin has taken a giant leap from the also excellent Zonal collaboration with Moor Mother, using a solid base of ambient texture with the low end rhythm giving the six pieces an immense sense of forward propulsion. KMRU’s spoken vocals float on top of the mix, blurring in and out, calling to action, slowly seeping into your brain. By the end of the album, leaving you with the feeling of being absorbed into some greater organism, and that your molecular structure has changed irreversibly.

I have been deeply into the music of Kevin Martin in his many musical guises for quite a long time, so discovering the sonic world of Joseph Kamaru has been a very pleasant experience, and one that I will delve further into. While Disconnect feels like a KRM/The Bug production, it has those gritty sonics that scream of his style, having listened to a few KMRU albums now this collaboration does indeed feel like a partnership between the two artists. Obviously, Martin has had a long career of collaborating with other artists, and this is an excellent addition to the catalogue. At the very least you should check out KMRU’s amazing 2020 work on Edition Mego called Peel.

But let’s get back to Disconnect. It’s great to hear Martin stretch out with some longer pieces, blending his The Bug dirtiness with the ambient drones of the Frequencies for Leaving Earth series on his own Intercranial Recordings label. I’m quite curious what the process for the production of this record was, as it manages to sound like both artists work, while having a very clear identity. Regardless of how, the fact stands that this is a work of glacial beauty, slowly pulsating like some otherworldly communication from a civilisation far beyond ours.

Lyrically, Kamaru drifts through repetitive motifs that circle every composition on the album, dropping in for a moment then floating off into the cosmic drone n bass that socially supports the text. While the collaboration with Moor Mother seemed more urgent, Disconnect feels more like a grand celestial statement. The complexity of tone and voice sit against each other in an unexpected harmony, creating a work of deep sonic beauty, immediately standing out in the already exceptional discography of Kevin Martin, and without a doubt one of my top albums for the year. I hope there are more of these types of collaborations in the pipeline because the world desperately needs more music like this in it.


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