BassWatch: J:Kenzo Makes Late Bid For Album Of The Year With Taygeta Code
Bass music behemoth J:Kenzo has delivered Christmas early to those of us that love to dwell in low-end frequencies. The UK native has been a tastemaker and innovator in the realm of 140 and beyond for well over a decade. Recently, Kenzo returned with his first full-length album in seven years entitled Taygeta Code via seminal imprint Artikal Music. The 11-track project encapsulates J:Kenzo’s versatile style and musical progression as one of the most in-demand producers in the world of bass.
Taygeta Code is full of the ominous sub-bass and menacing percussion that Kenzo has become notorious for, but what really makes this release enticing is the incorporation of various sonic dialects to create new and refreshing soundscapes. Rife with elements of techno, hip-hop, jungle and even downtempo, this album underlines Kenzo’s position as a visionary willing to take risks and step outside genre-centric norms.
The album kicks off in true J:Kenzo fashion with two hefty dubstep tracks in “Desired State” and “Broken Dreams” featuring Lelijveld. “Desired State” is a true sub-woofer shaker with throbbing bass growls and raucous energy while Lelijveld’s warm, sonorous vocals add an uplifting and emotive element to “Broken Dreams.”
“Like A Hawk” (Kenzo’s Darkside VIP) is a spine-tingling tune that will raise the hairs on the back of your neck thanks to sinister vocals courtesy of stalwart grime MC Flowdan. Taygeta Code is an album that simmers with murky UK angst and grit while also continually throwing complex and somewhat surprising sonic twists at the listener. The project continues with our favorite track on the album “Deadbull.” Enigmatic synths intertwine suavely with tribal drums to create a bold and vibrant 140 curveball. “Narky” featuring Navigator signals a return to Kenzo’s sub-laden style as the track thrums with punishing waves of bass while teasing percussive elements are layered deftly throughout.
“All In” and “Blind Summit” take the album in a smooth and meditative direction. “Blind Summit” blossoms with delicate synths and breakbeat inspired percussion while “All In” is a jazzy, debonair track that utilizes haunting vocals and soothing keystrokes to stand out from the rest of the album.
The project closes out with three experimental tracks that underline Kenzo’s ability to make any style his own. “Guilty” and “Token Image” employ bold analog effects in refreshing ways to put a distinctly Kenzo feel to the genre of halftime. At 130 bpm, “Starseed 47″ is an enthralling closing track that mingles ethereal vocal samples and synths with sweeping melodies.
Taygeta Code is a brilliant, late entry for album of the year. Brimming with bold, intricate sound design and immense personality, this release is a blueprint for modern dubstep. While J:Kenzo closes out the album with peculiar tempos, he breathes new life into the genre with a myriad of innovative techniques and ambitious forays. With Taygeta Code, Kenzo has only continued to solidify himself as a true guiding light in the world of bass music and beyond.