"Petrovo Uho isn’t rigid, it is taut"
‘Petrovo Uho’ – the second album by Swiss talent Ben Kaczor – is all about tension. In particular, there is something about the construction of the percussion that makes you think about the behaviour of water tension. Try it: get a glass and fill it with water to the brim. With enough care, you can continue to drip water into the glass without it spilling over, the water bulging like a lens. Then it becomes a game of nerves – about how much you can slowly pour in before the physics reach breaking point.
The kicks in ‘Petrovo Uho’ are that full to the brim glass of water. Kaczor, with the steadiest of hands, masterfully drops in pattering hi-hats, deft clicks, careful toms and background hiss, lest a rasping open 909 hat shears across the surface and you end up with a very wet table. As the onlooker, it leaves you breathless, wrapped up in the drama and forever on the edge of being tipped over.
If, while you read this, your mind is starting to substitute ‘tension’ for ‘rigidity’ and all the implications of stifling artistic intent that may bring, dispel that notion immediately. ‘Petrovo Uho’ isn’t rigid, it is taut. It has the same amount of tautness as a trapeze artist’s tightrope – the symmetry between motion and balance, and of flex and contraction.
In the framework that exists, melodies and abstract tones alike drift like wind through branches freshly shorn of leaves. As you grasp those branches and pull them aside to peer through, you become captivated by the scenes that are revealed – be it the ghostly exhales of ‘Oluja’, drifting melancholic pads that drift into ‘Odsjaj’, the triumphant bursts of arpeggio driving the peak techno ‘Katamaran’, or the brutalist green-screen drone of ‘Tohatsu’.
Aptly positioned for the progression of Autumn into Winter, Kaczor’s knack for finding beauty within monochrome has created something to climb inside. A certain irony as the album’s inspiration comes from a summer in Dubrovnik, reflected in the Croatian titling of each track.
For me, it is much like observing a day of grey rain beating against the window, smug in the satisfaction that you are experiencing it wrapped in warmth and mood lighting, listening to the cold rhythmic drum of droplets against glass. As it does so, you then cast your mind back to the concept of glass, water and tension, and lose yourself within the rhythms and the textures.
‘Petrovo Uho’ is scheduled for release 18 November via Dial. Order a copy from Bandcamp.