12 May 2021 (released)
20 May 2021
The feeling of being lost. It can hit in quick sudden pangs or dwell in your consciousness for ages. It can hit over tangible problems (direction in life, relationships, money) or grandiose existential contemplations. When it's coupled with anxiety, it can be manic and frantic or it can stop time. When one feels that uncertainty coming on, a dull, dissociative limbo can take over where the overflow of information pushes everything to the background. Some people have brief moments of it once in a blue moon and some are face to face with it daily.
This sense of loss is at the heart of K4LT's latest EP Endgame. A five-track collection of desktop doom that uses the ominous tones of the doom genre but eschews the gargantuan guitar riffing in favour of synthetic textures. Named for the German word for cold (kalt), his compositions are frosty and distant. They occupy a faraway headspace with the instruments never quite touching the ground. The album is a soundtrack for times of personal uncertainty.
Swelling organ-like synths introduce the album with vocals entering like a monk's mantra. The chords are brooding and insular. The vocals climb to falsetto hitting uncomfortable spaces like the demented detracting voices in your head coming out in the open. A thick sustained guitar is applied as texture for gravitas. 'Loading Screen' uses a minimalist beat, meteor landing synths, and ambling guitar to score this slow march with the mood of a deep cut from The Cure. Grunge guitars emerge to carry the track to the finale.
'Ahead // Back' has the serpentine feel of a Martin Gore-led Depeche Mode track. The brushy percussion takes a back seat to Tesla coil synths. The album's best cut 'Fugae' finds the sweet spot with this throwback to mid-90s downtempo trip-hop. The jellyfish-like synths, fuzzed-out digital guitar, and dusty vinyl skipping bring to mind Bjork's underrated sleeper hit 'Possibly Maybe'. The track feels detached, like the disorienting rising sun of an insomniac's sleepless morning. The closer 'Extinction Aphelion' inhibits a similar nebulous oblivion. Laboured guitar strums, over a beat pressing on amidst the cacophony.
Endgame is a glimpse inside a darkened headspace. A score to that isolating feeling of being lost. The trick to it is, that at one time or another we all get there. Be it for fleeting moments or a prolonged funk. Endgame has some interesting ideas at times hampered by some mixing issues that get in the way of the ideas. Followups are sure to reveal the textures K4LT creates in greater detail and to greater effect.