Kuedo Slow Knife Planet Mu
After a five-year wait, Slow Knife has obviously been the proverbial ‘difficult’ second album for Jamie Teasdale, aka Kuedo. Having created ultra-gnarly dubstep in the mid noughties as one half of Vex’d, Teasdale then defined the Kuedo sound with 2011’s melancholy masterpiece Severant.
Severant was sci-fi in romantic mode. Violently cleaving Severant’s serene surfaces open, this second Kuedo album is sci-fi as conceived by J.G. Ballard, exploring the turbulent shadows of ‘inner space’. Listening to it isn’t exactly fun; but then, neither is reading High Rise.
From its outset, Slow Knife beams us back into the familiar Kuedo cosmos, with gorgeous synths, drifting like nebulae alongside those fluttering hi-hats. But Slow Knife is ceaselessly driven forwards by a dramatic purpose. Teasdale has set out to depict, in the abstract, the highs and lows of a romantic relationship. The comforting opening stretch is merely a representation of the relationship’s honeymoon period – the aural equivalent to the suburb in a slasher movie.
If Severant was a balm for the soul, Slow Knife is Kafka’s ‘axe for the frozen sea within us’. When that axe drops, the blade is as expertly forged as you’d expect from one half of Vex’d. When the saccharine Love’s Theme fades to make way to the black of Approach- ing, with its abrupt swarm of dissonant strings and howling bamboo flute, it feels like a psychic wounding. The album ends like a nightmare: on Halogen Lamp, bayou bug swarms chatter, and a sub-bass note rumbles, like a chainsaw being revved behind a bolted door. With a cinematic quality that morphs from Blade Runner to Texas Chainsaw Massacre in 46 minutes, Slow Knife confounds expectations, taking you to places you didn’t even know you wanted to go.