KETEV is the realm in which Berlin based sound artist Yair Elazar Glotman employs his unique ambient technoid soundscapes to explore the balance between darkness and light, fragility and strength, and tension and release. ‘Traces of Weakness’ follows up the solo contrabass LP ‘Études’ for Subtext records, and continues to expand on the themes explored on previous KETEV albums for Where To Now? and Opal Tapes. ‘Traces of Weakness’ was recorded at EMS Stockholm using their Buchla Modular Synth, and processed with reel-to-reel tape manipulations including personal archived field recordings. The sleeve photography comes courtesy of Yair’s father, the artist Yehoshua Shuka Glotman.
The album is divided into four long expressions, moving through a cycle of melancholy, destruction, urgency, fragility, and total calm. ‘Traces of Weakness’ opens with ‘Probabilities of a stranger’s eyes’, hypnotising the listener into a state of mantra, where cyclical bass plumes slowly strut alongside what sounds like processed healing bowls and subtle modular tones. Closing on a segment of total reflective calm this opening gambit truly does set itself up as preparation for the descent.
The brooding ambience continues with the title track ‘Traces of Weakness’, opening with a Stars of The Lid esque panorama of ambience and beauty, throughout the piece the vibe becomes increasingly ominous and foreboding, feelings of fragility and space slowly evolve into a filmic atmosphere of oddly comforting tension and uncertainty – it is this changing of emotional states within sound where KETEV totally comes into his own - sharing similar motifs as artists such as Tim Hecker and Tomas Koner, but continuously injecting an array of very human and emotional responses into his scapes of evolving ambience.
‘Linger’ finds KETEV in full on rhythmic dread mode, where 12 minutes of churning techno mechanism forces the build of tonal dread into a new zone. ‘Linger’ showcases what KETEV does best – taking the stripped back, minimal pulse and building layer upon layer of sound and tension to create an ecstatic, all encompassing melee of rapture and release.
We end with ‘Levels of Chaos’ to complete the cycle, a true comedown from the heightened spirit of ‘Linger’. Themes explored in the opening track return, but with new perspective and confidence, the scene has a newness to it but is totally destroyed, there is melodic hope that pierces the ambience, bringing to mind the darker moments of John Hassell’s otherworldly compositions. KETEV often leaves the listener with a brutal and cold parting stare, and ‘Traces of Weakness’ is no different, another enthralling and escapist experience and essential addition to the Where To Now? catalogue.
released January 15, 2016
Mastered by Rupert Clervaux.
Sleeve Photograph by Yehoshua Shuka Glotman.
Design by Studio of the immaculate heart.