Finnish innovators K-X-P premiere the new track “Space Precious Time” at heavily trafficked tastemakers BoilerRoom.tv. The track hails from the collective’s forthcoming third album, III, set for international release on March 27th via Svart Records with the cooperation of Öm. A trio, K-X-P have long identified as being an “anti-band,” and as they move onto III, they continue to be so by defying both convention and expectation. For K-X-P, every new record is another layer of skin shed; new territories are broached, areas explored, and fresh influences imbued. The critically acclaimed pop-tinged electronic whirlwind that was their last release, II, has given way to something stripped and primed, leaving a dense-yet-sparse record of cinematic ambient techno fused with churning, progressive space rock. This follows hot on the heels of the group’s proto-techno banger The History of Techno EP, released last year by Svart Records. Hear the first fruits of K-X-P’s ongoing evolution exclusively HERE, courtesy of BoilerRoom.tv.
The core unit of K-X-P has now long comprised of the trio Timo Kaukolampi (electronics, vocals, and the ‘K’), Tuomo Puranen (bass, keyboards, and the ‘P’), and alternating drummers (the ‘X’ – for the mystery) Tomi Leppänen and, in the studio and on rare occasions live, Anssi Nykänen. However, true to the group’s musical explorations and sense of improvised experimentation, the membership, too, has become more fluid and expanding. “We are not a traditional band in that sense. There is, like, ten rotating members in the studio and live,” says Kaukolampi.
While the group are fervent experimenters in the studio, it is onstage where the band feel truly electrified and have built their reputation, compelling audiences and gaining followers around the world. The onstage atmosphere acted as a catalyst for III. “There has been a huge quest to capture the raw live energy in a studio environment,” Kaukolampi says. Leppänen takes a more abstract view on the increasing influence of the live aspect on their recorded output: “While touring, we were introduced to a Georgian naturally carbonated mineral water called Borjomi. It’s a water like no other – very strong, very effective. Sometimes, our music on albums can be very still and gentle, Evian-like. It’s okay, as Evian is widely consumed and easily available. It’s not easy to catch the the Borjomi-fueled live energy on tape, but little by little, we’ll learn the secret.”
With a desire to hone their sound, simmering their output down to a distilled essence has been key for this record (which is only part one of two), as Leppänen points out: “With History of Techno, we investigated rhythm and primal flow with longer song structures. III is an attempt to combine these two and also to introduce some elements from our next chapter. It might sound that we like to try and play with different musical styles, but it’s far from that. It’s more like trying to find the most primal key elements in the world of sound.”
Much of the new album was made in Suomenlinna, a World Heritage-fortified island in front of Helsinki with producer Ilari Larjosto. There are no guitars featured on the record, but – and perhaps more central to the recording process – “There is no ego in K-X-P’s music,” says Kaukolampi, adding, “Everybody is just working for the flow of music. We are humble servants of the groove.” One such guest contributor to the “groove” is electronic music pioneer Mika Vainio (Ø, Pan Sonic), who added drones and feedback to “Psychic Hibernation.”
K-X-P are a group who look far beyond simply musical influences, and III includes a plethora of inspirations that range from the sonic to the spiritual. Kaukolampi has been practising “deeper meditations and yogi practises” on top of a varied musical diet, taking in “old techno and ambient records, some extreme metal like Mayhem’s latest record, Esoteric Warfare – that hit me hard – also lots of religious music from all religions.” However, one influence, when locked deep into the nocturnal grooves of the LP, makes perfect sense: “One big influence was driving at night in Los Angeles. LA is sometimes a very lonely city. Somehow, this record has this deep isolation and lonely feeling. Alone in space, forgotten, like an endless ten-lane highway in the night with no speed limit.”
III comes with a move onto their own label Öm, under the umbrella of Finland’s Svart Records (Öm takes it name from the mystical Sanskrit sound Om and the umlauts in the Motörhead logo – two pivotal influences in the K-X-P sound). This has allowed K-X-P a sense of freedom and flexibility to play with the format of their releases with a second album: part two of III is due for release later in the year. “I had the shape of this release in my head for a long time. It was my dream, and now it’s possible that we control our own imprint.” In terms of the stylistic leap you can expect on III Part II, like all their previous leaps, expect the unexpected, as Kaukolampi concludes: “There is so much material floating around in hard discs, tapes, and in the dark ether of our brains.” Cover and tracklisting are as follows:
Tracklisting for K-X-P’s III
1. Psychic Hibernation
2. Space Precious Time
4. Obsolete and Beyond
5. Siren’s Dawn
6. Descend To Eternal