Frivolous: Kevork Motion
Background Records

Look up 'frivolous' in the dictionary and you'll find “unworthy of serious attention,” “trivial,” and “inappropriately silly,” almost all of which little apply to the music of Vancouverite Daniel Gardner. The connection isn't entirely off-base, however, in one respect: the Background Records and Karloff Rekordings veteran does bring a definite levity to techno's often sober presentation. Following upon previous Background Records outings Crankkongestion and 40 Inch, Kevork Motion features five quirky tracks of cut-up funk-house filled with buoyant bass lines, machine noises, and occasional vocals. The material amply illustrates that the cumulative effect of Gardner 's music is rooted in accretions of detail. “Kevork Motion (Lazy Daz Y-Mix),” for example, begins with a bumping, slightly stuttering rhythm enhanced by a subtle cello figure, turns into a dubby microhouse groove accented with a cricket chirp, and then segues into a soul break of falsetto and bass vocals before exiting with a snapping minimal pulse boosted by echoing keyboard chords. “Polokolipt” captures the EP's essence with Frivolous merging a warm, propulsive groove of tight hi-hat and bass drum patterns with clanks and whirrs, subtle keyboard accents, and soft voice murmurs. Though it brings a distinctive touch to songs like the sparkling synth-kissed tribal groove “Kevork Motion (Reassurance Mix),” the voice (presumably Gardner's) is often delivered in a monotone croak that, when uttering lines like “You've got to hear me little man/That's why you've got to understand,” recalls 'vocalist' René Dif from the Danish pop group Aqua—not a good thing. Despite that minor detail, Kevork Motion comes equipped with enough bass-driven stomp to make it definitely worthy of serious attention.

September 2005