Klein review – composer explodes convention into brilliant fragments | Experimental music

Across simply 5 years of recorded output, south London outsider-composer Klein has journeyed from indirect, downer electronica redolent of Burial to a novel and singular warping of classical tropes. Befitting an artist who has launched music on each cutting-edge dance labels and legacy European classical imprints, forward of a milestone show at London’s Barbican subsequent week Klein is acting at a membership house in a Salford industrial property.

The primary sounds you hear – beneath pulverising strobe lights – is the clattering membership rhythms of Klein’s work carried out by a lone percussionist hitting a big kick drum in conjunction with the stage. Reflecting Klein’s route of journey, sounds that have been as soon as sampled at the moment are much more prone to be natural; final 12 months’s critically acclaimed album Harmattan had been composed for orchestra earlier than the pandemic intervened.

Performers throughout Klein’s set. {Photograph}: Joel Goodman/the Guardian

Suspended from the ceiling, a single microphone swings throughout the darkish stage, and when Klein makes use of it to seize her trumpet taking part in, thick swathes of echo and digital therapy render it startling in its grandeur and scale. If her latest wordless and beatless music toys with the conventions of classical music, then that’s the one factor typical about tonight.

In one of many hour set’s initially stranger moments, a performer launched as Josie – and good friend of Klein – is telling a rambling, surreal joke a couple of snail showing on Pimp My Trip. It’s bewildering, earlier than the joke’s awkward payoff is abruptly looped and reworked by Klein – one of many set’s severe highlights because the unusual joke echoes, now unrecognisable, across the membership for minutes. “How about them jokes!” grins the composer, wearing an outsized T-shirt and thick knotted tie.


Although Klein has rejected the tag of sound collagist, she has an evocative means with fragments, deploying them in sudden modifications that may make you’re feeling such as you’ve fallen down a lure door. Stretches of celestial ambient or discovered speech collapse unexpectedly into beer-rattling drone. Klein grabs the swinging mic and begins MCing, which itself dissolves into a few of Harmattan’s most straightforwardly fairly textures. It’s summary however compelling; expectations stay a plaything for one of many UK’s most iconoclastic auteurs of sound.

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