kode9

“‘Nothing’ is Kode9’s first solo album,” reads the PR brief that accompanies this release, “and is about nothing.” If this at first seems a little terse, then it’s worth bearing in mind the LP’s context, for this is not a debut in the conventional sense.

Steve Goodman’s long-time collaborator and friend, The Spaceape, aka poet and MC Stephen Gordon, passed away this time last year at the age of just 44, forcing Goodman into a period of introspection and creative evaluation. Shorn of his music’s voice, he has chosen to foreground the resultant space and silence rather than attempting to plug the gaps, and in doing so he pushes some of the work back on to the listener, encouraging his audience to reflect as well. But while it’s hard to disentangle the work from its biography, it’s easy to see that is yet another remarkably inventive release from a label that specialises in remarkably inventive releases.

‘Nothing’ grafts strangled J-Pop to straight-up grime and dubstep (see ‘Holo,’ ‘Casimir Effect’), while fleeting moments of deconstructed Chicago house (‘Vaccuum packed’, ‘Mirage’) pierce through blocks of static and musique concrète. It’s no surprise that a man who’s written a book on the use of sound in igniting fear has created another bruising, haunting piece of work, but look closer and there’s also a gentleness that sits between the lines of this letter to a lost pal.

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