Kalax: Outlands


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Liverpool producer Kalax returns with another synth odyssey, Getintothis’ Aaron Farrell finds life in the darkness.

In the late 2000s, there was a reemergence of the 1980s retro synth wave genre. Kavinsky came out with his 1986 EP on French label Record Makers and everything exploded from there.
It reached a peak by the time of Nicolas Winding Refn‘s, future cult classic, Drive became a permanent fixture in many peoples DVD collection. All of a sudden you can hear people blasting out College and Electric Youth‘s A Real Hero. It was the essence of cool by the Spring of 2012.
Liverpool producer Kalax continues this branch of synth music with his new EP release Outlands. The sleeve resembles an 80s designed reissue of a Philip K Dick novel with a multitude of lightning strikes hitting a curve of mountains. It’s the darkest novel he’s never written.
The opening track Arrival sets the opening narrative and the beginning of a journey.
A voice recalls, ‘It was an ordinary day, for an ordinary man living his day-to-day life until he started to feel strange and then he blacked out…Getintothis recently compared his musical structure to a ‘devised screenplay,’ – it’s this musical soundtrack that would befit that of a Ridley Scott epic.
If Outlands, the title track, would reference a movie blockbuster it would be Daft Punk‘s Tron Legacy minus the string arrangements teeing up the EP as it whirls into action with its swirling melodic tones and crashes of claps.
The urgency continues into The Race; it has a humid and hot feel with it’s dark opening of deep repetitive notes. It reaches a climax with an alarm sounding synth see-sawing high and low. If it was a race, it would probably be a photo finish.
The interlude, Escape Prologue, acts as an afterthought to the race. Its tempo is slow but its intensity is dramatic. It’s soothed by the vocals of Dana Jean Pheonix but disappointingly she sounds inaudible with the high modulation of the synthesizer.
Fly With Me replicates the intro of A Real Hero but is suddenly transformed into a dance floor beat with its thumping bass kicks.
Many of the compositions on this EP are arranged exquisitely and we’re looking forward to the direction Kalax will go from here – another retro-futurist twist that promises much more is yet to follow. We’re eagerly looking forward to the sequel.

Further reading on Getintothis
Getintothis on Kalax’s Journey EP.
Liverpool X and Getintothis presents: Baltic Fleet, Nadine Carina, Bantam Lions, Kalax: HAUS, Liverpool.
GIT Award 2014: The Kazimier, Liverpool featuring Lapsley, Africa Oye, Bill Ryder-Jones, Mad Brains, Forest Swords & more.
Linda Perhacs returns from wilderness for Liverpool show at Leaf.
War On Drugs ready to cast their spell on Liverpool once again.
Flying in the face of adversity – the demise of the music press in the digital age.