Over the past few years, K-Lone (Josiah Gladwell) has been consistently putting out some choice 12”s on labels like Wisdom Teeth and Sweet and Tasty. Then he dropped debut long player, Cape Cira in 2020. Very broadly speaking, he’s making dance music, but there’s a twisted edge and variety of tempos that marks him out from the pack. K-Lone does tunes with groove and feeling. Head, heart and feet music.
New long player ‘Swells’ keeps some of the atmospheric and textural elements that made up ‘Cape Cira’s’ sound but builds them out. The album’s ten tracks span the styles of this music called dance. Track one, ‘Saws’ is a mellow opener, looped effects-laden vocals with a plaintive organ line that moves into computer-sound melody. It’s a sea of bleepy goodness. Moving onto ‘Love me a little’, dancefloor territory beckons. The skippy beat and catchy chords mix with sounds that hit hard. More effected chants make for a deep and dark mid-tempo burner.
‘Oddball’ on the other hand drops down a gear, sharp kicks and floaty synth lines veer here and there, keeping the buzz ticking over. ‘Strings’ has a more plaintive feel, but the beat still kicks, with a warped backwards-sounding melody. Side A closes off with ‘Shimmer’, with a sparse dubby stab over up and down keys line beginning the track. Then that tight slightly off kilter kick comes in. There are some dramatic breakdown antics mid-track before heading back to the beats. There’s even a semi-hidden female vocal coda to cool things down before it makes way for the flip.
Second side, different again. This time guest vocalist Eliza Rose has her moment on ‘With U’. Maybe a modern take on street soul? A quick-hop beat and emotion-drenched vocals are all present and correct. It’s an obvious single candidate for good reason and shows K-Lone can do late night melody. Meanwhile, back on the dancefloor, ‘Gel’ comes with a rock solid drum sound, pounding even, before things get spicy with soaring synths and squiggly effects, definitely a broken feel but easily danceable at the same time.
‘Love is’ takes the tempo down into an early evening builder. The economic vocal sample is simple and effective on this one. Adding atmosphere as required. ‘Volcane’ stutters into life, growing as the track progresses, layering keyboard lines over ever expanding effects and chimes. Finale track ‘Multiply’ fades in from afar with an organ solo, showcasing some almost prog-chops, but keeping it the right side of tight. Then there’s a sea of sound before looped/cut up vocal snips fade out to black.
‘Swells’ showcases a producer hitting his stride. There’s a breadth of sounds from dancefloor bounce to headphones twitch here with just the right amount of different to keep the listener guessing. K-Lone is one to keep watching.
Swells is out now on vinyl and download via Wisdom Teeth’s Bandcamp