Ketsa creates something magical
Al Kemet – the Western interpretation of Egyptian magic, from which is drawn the word Alchemy, a mixture and blend of the familiar and the exotic, the known and the unknown, the comforting and the unsettling, disparate elements fused together to create something new and unique, far greater than the sum of its parts.
Al Kemet is the debut release from London musician Dominic Giam under his Ketsa moniker on the international net label, Invisible Agent.
Meditative yet energising
Down-tempo yet exuberant, meditative yet energising, hypnotic yet startling, Al Kemet is the soundtrack of an imagined cosmopolitan existence where dividing lines are replaced by charcoal smudges and barriers dissolve like chalk drawings on a path washed away by a summer’s rain.
From the album’s opening track Solution where glitchy London beats travel comfortably along with sweeping echoes of Eastern soundscapes, through to the jazzy breaks of Distillation with its playful piano work that turns inward and contemplative when accompanying the wrenching repeated mantra of Purification, from the squelchy bass and tabla slaps that knit together the altogether darker Calcination through to the clipped shuffle-echoes of dubstep that permeate much of the album, breaking free at last in a hidden track that bounces along at the end as a cheeky celebration of all that has come before, Al Kemet is a heady thaumaturgical blend that is indeed greater than the sum of its parts.
Paintings by Dina Chhan, Cambodian artist, sculptor, painter.
Fusion of live instrumentation
Ketsa’s fusion of live instrumentation laid down over worked electronica has in the past echoed the dreamscapes of Boards of Canada and the glitch-hop of Prefuse 73, but here he creates something that he can definitively call his own, something that delivers new complexities with each listening and tells a different story every time. Accompanied by a series of 15 painted panels from the Cambodian artist Chhan Dina, one for each track, that capture the album’s sonic fusion of traditions in a synesthetic explosion of colour, Al Kemet is out now on Invisible Agent.
Equally perfect to stick on as you relax deep into the evening, with possibly a glass of wine to hand.
With this kind of compositional talent, natural understanding of harmony, and a flare for fluent instrumental writing, what is to stop him being the next Cinematic Orchestra?
There’s a confidence and crispness to the meshing of genres at play here that marks out the Londoner as a name to look out for.
“Al Kemet” is the Western interpretation of Egyptian magic... the phrase form which we draw the word “alchemy”. This is such an apt title for this release... because Ketsa has created something magical... he has created gold in his experimentations and I, for one, love it.