CALIKA | Crooked
 Cat: AB024
 Time: September 09
 Media: Digital Download

 Info:  This little E.P. is not a grand statement on 
 individualism, society, the world or some kind of half 
 arsed political statement, it is simply music. Crooked 
 music maybe, but it's all mine.

 Artist site:

 PDF Press Release: Download 
Calika - Crooked (Digital Only) download download
REVIEWS | Crooked

 An excellent short-form outing for Brighton's Simon Kealoha, following up on the sample-driven, Four Tet-style 
 electronics of his 2007 album Seedling Mother with five new compositions. 'Crooked' tumbles along in the 
 disheveled spirit of Manyfingers or Matt Elliott, with plenty of acoustic instruments all colliding across roughly 
 cut layered loops. After this atmospheric, earthily downbeat beginning along comes the Squarepusher-like 
 diced rhythms of 'Mega Mega', while the equally warped bass antics of 'I Still Dream Of You' take a turn down 
 yet more shambolic avenues, meandering about the place loosely while frazzled electronic detritus floats 
 around the mix. By the time 'A Serpentine Tale' comes along we've come full circle and Kealoha's transplanted 
 us back into his homely, looped folktronic mode - very nice indeed.

 Crooked  is an apt title for Simon Kealoha's latest Calika release, as bent and twisted beats underpin equally
 fractured melodic structures in the EP's five electro-acoustic settings. Once again a distinctive found-sound 
 sensibility pervades the material, with the ever-resourceful Kealoha obsessively shaping his tracks from equal
 helpings of natural (guitars, drums) and sampled sounds. In a typical Calika track, a repeating bass line functions
 as a stabilizing center, which in turn allows the drums and the idiosyncratic sound design to swirl less fixedly. 
 While that's generally the case, there are variations on that theme; in the the ponderous “A Serpentine Tale,” for
 example, clip-clops and a ticking clock act as the anchor. In the title track, found-sound percussion crosses 
 paths with a brooding melodica-styled theme and a see-sawing, two-note bass pulse amidst a nightmarish mass
 of creaks and acoustic strums. By contrast, skittering rhythms can't hide the rollicking, light-hearted vibe that 
 beats at the heart of “I Still Dream of You.” Kealoha might have had On The Corner in mind when he assembled 
 “Mega Mega,” a hyperative exercise in mutant jazz-funk and broken beats. At twenty-two minutes, Crooked may
 be modest in length and ambition, but its mix of trangulated electronic effects and writhing beats is as unusual as
 anything else Kealoha has released.

 Clearly willing to spread his music to the cream of British electronic imprints, Brighton-based Calika has, in recent 
 weeks, returned to both Sheffield’s Audiobulb and London’s Highpoint Lowlife, offering each label five tracks of 
 fine electronic music compiled on two EPs. Simon Kealoha, the brain behind Calika, has, in the past, released two 
 albums on Audiobulb, worked with Benbecula and contributed one track to Highpoint Lowlife’s excellent Analog 
 For Architecture compilation, published in 2006. Beside his solo activities, he has also worked with Seefeel’s Mark 
 Clifford, with whom he has recorded two albums worth of material, the first, Running Tapper, released through 
 Clifford’s Polyfusia imprint, the second yet to materialise.

 With these two digital-only releases, coming ahead of Kealoha’s fourth full length, currently being recorded, 
 Calika exhibits two different sides of his musical landscapes. While Crooked makes extensive use of a wide 
 acoustic palette, processed and arranged into relatively atmospheric compositions, Slack Jaw appears rawer, 
 more electric, and driven by heavier grooves.

 Twisted and occasionally moody, especially on the title track, Crooked is as fresh and invigorating as the last 
 Calika album. Constantly changing pace, from the subdued allure of the title track and the twisted funk of Mega 
 Mega to the wonky mock post-rock of I Still Dream Of You, the elegant acoustic textures of Reminders and the 
 ambient form of A Serpentine Tale, Kealoha embarks here on a short, yet plentiful, journey, determined to cram 
 as much as the mind can deal with in the twenty two minutes of this EP. This is no pretentious game play 
 though. Each track has a clear focus and a well defined outline and is fuelled by particularly effective 
 soundscapes. Kealoha processes his acoustic textures with great care, rarely leaving them untouched, 
 choosing instead to give them a grittier feel or a sharper edge, before incorporating them in the fabric of his 
 compositions to create a warm and organic collection. 

 This process also defines much of Slack Jaw, but the sources are either much more concentrated or vastly
 different. Indeed, this EP, while retaining some of the atmospheric aspect of Crooked, appears more angular 
 and bad-tempered. Occasionally sounding like the live recordings of a band which would have been finely 
 sliced and recomposed, the tracks collected here denote a darker, nastier, edgier sound. Gone are the 
 tasteful sonic textures and delicate melodies. Here Kealoha deploys complex structures, propelled by 
 faltering breakbeats and intricate melodic patterns. Oscar and Gioconda are especially gritty and moody, 
 while Crome Yellow feeds on a sleeker groove and shows a slightly more approachable side, and closing
 piece To Hold You relieves the pressure a tad by displaying a more cheerful personality. 

 With these two distinct EPs, Simon Kealoha consolidates his solo work by applying similar techniques to create 
 radically different records. While it is difficult to know which direction will inform his next record, both Crooked 
 and Slack Jaw prove mighty fine releases in their own right, and, while they do not exactly complete each 
 other, are equally as worthy of attention.
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