Kit Clayton
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Nek Sanalet (1999), 6.5/10
Lateral Forces - Surface Fault (2001), 7/10

Joshua "Kit" Clayton, who studied composition at Wesleyan College, is a San Francisco-based electronic and digital musician whose abstract soundscapes employ stormy electronic sounds a` la Morton Subotnick, filtered voices a` la digital glitches a` la Oval dub-like echo effects a` la Bill Laswell, and robotic rhythms a` la Neu. Clayton debuted with the EPs Negative Powers (Cytrax, 1997) and Unreliable Networks (Cytrax, 1998), but came into his own with the EPs 4mod3 A Translation of Simplicity (Phthalo, 1999), The Angular Adventures of Kit in the Land of Sound and Shape (Parallel, 1999), Nek Purpalet (Scape, 1999), and with the subsequent full-length, Nek Sanalet (Scape, 1999), an experiment in dub a` la Pole buried in a jungle of sound effects. The eight-minute Purpakana is a smooth shuffle of dub-like synth reverbs, tribal beats and silly noises. Kalu weaves a syncopated rhythm that hints at reggae while facing an electronic breeze. Nia-Ikala blends spacey reverbs, swampy beat and whipping electronics. The shorter tracks are actually more amusing: Nuchu toys with the psychedelic diffraction of a voice; Inapiseptili cubistically deconstructs a simple melody; and, best of all, Aspoket indulges in a demented metallic charleston.

Techno is, instead, the genre explored and deconstructed on the seven-track mini-album Repetition and Nonsense (Drop Beat, 1999), more clearly in the dance-floor grooves VHS and M-Shape Rather than rhythm, though, it is a keen sense of melody and dynamics that sets Clayton apart, particularly in Settler. Every track is characterized by different nuances (chilled kraut-rock geometry in A Lack Of Calibration, abstract downtempo in A Measure of Loss) and each one is an exercise in controlled chaos (notably A Choice Of Words). The main feature of this recording is, quite simply, emotion, which is centerstage while being often a mere footnote in his colleagues' works.

At the turn of the millennium, a deluge of EPs diluted the message. Best were perhaps Material Problem (Cytrax, 2000) and the three-song Lateral Forces (Vertical Form, 2000), a concept EP based on seismic activities, with the sensual Izmit, the fractured and distorted Quindio, and the techno locomotive Nantou, one of his hedonistic peaks. But it was clear that Clayton was moving away from the surreal dub of his early work.

Finally, Lateral Forces - Surface Fault (Vertical Form, 2001), a 40-minute tour de force, advanced Clayton's art to a new level. The seven untitled tracks explore alien rhythmic soundscapes. The first one is a crackling vibration with distnat industrial overtones that spills over into the second track, where the noise coalesces into a more and more focused beat, although still wrapped in hallucinated reverbs. These are the leitmotif of the third track, a sort of hypo-dub shuffle. The fourth track restarts with an abstract cosmic vibration, again in a "dirty" tone. The "dirt" (reminiscent of defective vinyl) is the protagonist of the fifth track: it mixes and transforms with other sounds to create the effect of running water. The sixth track uses that cryptic hissing as a background for another venture into steady loud beats, although the tones are always warped in a sort of psychedelic manner.

The EP Ping Pong (Carpark, 2002) documents a collaboration with Safety Scissors (Matthew Curry).

(Translation by/ Tradotto da Margherita)

Joshua "Kit" Clayton, che ha studiato composizione musicale al Wesleyan College, e’ un musicista elettronico e digitale che ha come sua base San Francisco, e le cui astratte evasioni sonore utilizzano burrascosi suoni elettronici alla Morton Subotnick, voci filtrate nello stile glitch digitale degli Oval, effetti di eco dub alla Bill Laswell e ritmi robotici alla Neu. Clayton ha debuttato con gli EP Negative Powers (Cytrax, 1997) e Unreliable Networks (Cytrax, 1998), ma ha ricevuto il meritato riconoscimento con gli EP 4mod3 A Translation of Simplicity (Phthalo, 1999), The Angular Adventures of Kit in the Land of Sound and Shape (Parallel, 1999), Nek Purpalet (Scape, 1999), e con il successivo album, Nek Sanalet (Scape, 1999), un esperimento dub alla Pole, sepolto in una giungla di effetti sonori. Tracks: Nuchu , Purpakana , Kalu , Aspoket , Nele , Nia-Ikala , Surba, Inapiseptili . Il genere che viene  esplorato e decostruito nel mini album  da sette tracce Repetition and Nonsense (Drop Beat, 1999), e’ quello techno, in maniera piu’ evidente nei dance-floor grooves VHS e M-Shape. Piu’ che il ritmo, tuttavia, e’ un acuto senso della melodia e delle dinamiche a contraddistinguere Clayton, specialmente in Settler. Ogni traccia e’ definita da nuances differenti (temprata geometria kraut-rock  in A Lack Of Calibration, downtempo astratto in A Measure of Loss) e ciascuna rappresenta un esercizio di  caos regolato ( notevole A Choice Of Words). La caratteristica principale di questa incisione e’, semplicemente, l'emozione, che si colloca al centro di quest'opera, mentre spesso non rappresenta altro che una piccola nota a pie’ di pagina nel lavoro dei suoi colleghi. A cavallo dell'inizio del nuovo millennio, una quantita’ enorme di EP dilui’ il messaggio. I migliori probabilmente furono Material Problem (Cytrax, 2000) e Lateral Forces (Vertical Form, 2000), composto di tre brani, Izmit, Quindio, Nantou, un concept album ispirato alla techno, basato sulle attivita’ sismiche. Ma appariva evidente che Clayton si stava allontanando dal dub surreale dei suoi primi lavori.
In fine, Lateral Forces - Surface Fault (Vertical Form, 2001), un tour de force di 40 minuti, fece progredire l'arte di Clayton fino ad un nuovo livello.
L'EP Ping Pong (Carpark, 2002) documenta una collaborazione con Safety Scissors (Matthew Curry).

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