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June 14th 2024


Twin heavyweights Kevin Richard Martin (The Bug) and Joseph Kamaru (KMRU) unite for Disconnect, a powerful study of dread, hope, and profound sonics that marries depth-trawling dub with Kamaru’s voice, ambient sensibilities, and negative space.

Kevin Martin first became aware of Kenyan ambient musician KMRU “watching the short 2020 documentary Under The Bridge,” he tells us. “Which, aside from immediately finding Joseph's approach to sound and music so instantly impressive, I also found his spoken voice possessed a captivating, lilting, tonal quality, with his soft-spoken accent.” Following this, Martin dug into Kamaru’s records, and found not only a kindred spirit in skillful exploration of sonic space, but also a fan of The Bug. So began a mutually respectful relationship, initially held in Instagram DMs and reciprocal admiration for each other’s work and eventually blossoming into an invitation sent by Kevin to Joseph to collaborate on a new album.

The results - debut collaboration album Disconnect - collect a back-and-forth creative dialogue that started life in Martin’s studio. “I think I surprised Joseph by suggesting he contributes vocals,” Martin tells us. This ability to identify, isolate and exploit the nonstandard is a trait shared by both musicians and employed to devastating effect on Disconnect. Its vocals, sitting somewhere between intonation and spoken word, capture the ear and fizz with simmering power. They are indeed a surprise, coming from a musician specialising in instrumental, field recording-laced ambient musics, but tell intensely evocative stories, weaving poetry into the pair’s grandiose greyscale musical architecture.

The record is just as deep, expressive, and arresting as we can expect from Kevin Richard Martin, following his acclaimed rescore of Solaris (released in 2021 on Phantom Limb) and a handful of self-released solo albums that explore a sound just as heavy as The Bug but at a menacingly slower pace. And it is just as evocative and unique as Kamaru’s KMRU canon, each object delicately and purposefully placed so the timbral mosaic builds with shimmering and hypnotic beauty.

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