k?d discovers the storytelling power of extended plays with his eagerly awaited debut EP, ‘Find Paradise’ [Review]
It’s hard to believe, but electronic music world has, up to this point, been without a release from k?d longer than one single track. Even in a landscape inundated with quick hit singles and two-track drops, the momentum the young producer has built on the strength of a deep arsenal of remixes, singles, and profile-raising collaborations has been incredibly impressive nonetheless. Moreover, k?d’s track record is polished with a consistency that could stir envy in even the most seasoned producers. The mysterious beatsmith’s list of accomplishments already reads like a career highlights reel with tens of millions of plays on high-profile remixed classics by artists like Porter Robinson and Daft Punk, and a grip of show-stealing collaborations with the likes of REZZ and Wolfgang Gartner. And still, never a unified body of work — until now. Finally, k?d’s eagerly awaited debut EP Find Paradise has arrived.
Seeing a full six tracks, marked by k?d’s characteristically gripping, anime-inspired artwork, Find Paradise demands immediate curiosity — after all, k?d generally refuses to be pinned down to one single genre. That said, k?d’s sound is distinct: gritty, digitally crackling bass meshed with video game-inspired lead lines and a taste for ear shattering mid tempo cadence. But there’s also a dizzying breadth of moods and feelings present in the artist’s brimming catalog of work. Find Paradise manages to capture them all, and much more. The journey begins with an epic and vocal-powered “Electronic Memories,” the sole collaboration on the EP, featuring Mickey Kojak. The track vaults the listener through anthemic grandeur that the Alt Vision recruit has showcased before, though this time he holds tight to a head-turning funk-drenched breakdown dripping in unabashed wah-wah pedal. From the onset, it’s clear k?d has brought his full bag of tricks out for the big occasion.
The surprises continue immediately as “Creator’s Flower” unleashes sizzling drum and bass, topped with screeching old school trance leads. Wasting now time, “Polluted Blood” keeps the venom flowing over a trademark mid-tempo beat, with apocalyptic drones and biting bass plucks. Finally, If the first half of Find Paradise is an act, its titular track arrives as a melodic intermission to the madness. A spacious piano line oozes effortlessly into a swelling chorus shining through between crunched-out 80s drums. The intensity ramps up, but the cool blasts of melancholic chords are a constant.
“Tokyo” interrupts the intermission with immediately insistent industrial discord, nailed down to a bass line that could sounds like it was yanked straight out of Boys Noize’s playbook. Still, there’s little that can prepare for the bombastic blast beat finale that is “Destroy The Universe.” The track’s onomatopoeic name delivers, bringing about a turbo-speed rave weapon that unapologetically drills in deep from start to finish. The EP’s finale wades through a sea of buzzing and ascending synth drones, eventually detonating again into a suped-up second drop that caps k?d debut off in a surge of digital adrenaline. k?d’s first collective project is a buffet of digital distortion and tranced-out top lines, unified under a relentlessly dystopian sonic framework. The common vein is a thrilling addition to the artist’s ever-unfolding story, as he begins wielding the storytelling power of well-composed extended releases.