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Kevin Richard Martin and KMRU team up for hypnotic new album: Disconnect
Out 14th June via Phantom Limb


Acclaimed heavyweights Kevin Richard Martin (The Bug) and Joseph Kamaru (KMRU) unite
for the upcoming album Disconnect, out 14th June through UK indie label Phantom Limb.
The LP is a powerful study of dread, hope, and profound sonics that marries depth-trawling
dub with Kamaru’s voice, ambient sensibilities, and negative space.





Pre order Vinyl 




Kevin Richard Martin (AKA The Bug) and KMRU collaborate on new album, Disconnect



Kevin Richard Martin (AKA The Bug) and KMRU are releasing a collaborative album.Out on June 14th through Phantom Limb,
Disconnect is an exploration of dread, hope and profound sonics. The LP combines dub and ambient with KMRU's vocals, which Martin described as possessing a captivating, lilting, tonal quality."
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The album originated from an exploration of a text I wrote during my sound art studies, delving into the complexities of otherness, said KMRU. The project served as a response to Audre Lorde's idea that differences should be embraced as a dynamic force within humanity, rather than a perceived threat."

Disconnect follows Martin's run of Machine EPs. He'll also play at Berlin venue Gretchen on April 20th. KMRU's last release was September's Dissolution Grip. He has gigs in Bristol, Sheffield, Manchester and Glasgow scheduled for next month.
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Minimal Collective
Nurturing sonic worlds: potentials of field recording with KMRU

‘”I think there's always this force exerted from sound that goes beyond what the sound is in itself.’ That same force drives our conversation with KMRU in which we discuss how sound tickles our memories, our idea of home, and our urge to move. The Berlin-based artist contemplates the musical tapestry that ties together our experiences, thoughts, and dreams.”





HEAVY CALMNESS – AN INTERVIEW WITH KMRU





KMRU
Stupor

How does Joseph Kamaru do that? With "Dissolution Grip" the Kenya-born, Berlin-based artist recently released an outstanding ambient album, and the new LP "Stupor" is also convincing. On only three tracks, which all exceed the ten-minute mark, he carefully expands his idea of the genre, how could it be otherwise. KMRU does not need an acoustic sledgehammer to overwhelm. His tracks are constantly, but hardly noticeable, gaining in energy without making senseless noise. The volume that the 18-minute title track reaches after just a third of its playing time has its purpose. Through her and in her, the music unfolds its force, which this time has a more sacred coat of paint than ever.

The foundation of the three pieces is an almost endlessly long drone, on which different elements shoot transversely or submit to the most delicately overmanned river possible. The opener "CPR-12" is reminiscent of works by Eluvium, which contrast sound walls, as large as life itself, with lovely sounds and samples - in this case Christmas-like sound swabs and children's voices. But that's only half the truth: Towards the end, the track changes, and the mood tilts into the morbid, also thanks to the samples that now play on the Hauntology keyboard. On "Even A Tear" the almost familiar lead drone peels from bass white noise. Also here, as always, with a successful outcome.

KMRU US TOUR 2024



ACL 2023 ~ Top Ten Drone

KMRU ~ glim
On glim KMRU deploys austere melody and the richness of texture playing with everything from strings to piano, comfortable with both scraping dissonance, and gentle hum. There’s a lot to feel with on glim as the artist experiments with a wider dynamic range and a more diverse array of sonic textures than on earlier solo albums such as last year’s Epoch. There is delicate beauty here but it is often threatened, whether by timbral effects such as a drone’s warbling or wavering, by piercing volume, or by the multiplication of sonic layering and crushing volume.  A sense of place too, a real sense of place, is threatened by technology on this album, its ability to manipulate and fabricate, to overlay and overlap. The limited play with field recording across a quite noisy and sonically dense album might perhaps be interpreted then as an acknowledgment of the perennial threat that someday we ourselves may not be able to locate the natural. (Jennifer Smart)

ACL 2023 ~ The Top 20 Albums of the Year

5) KMRU ~ glim
We’ve been fans of KMRU’s work since before the release of his breakthrough Peel (2020), and have happily watched his reputation grow with each subsequent release. While he has increasingly embraced the synthesizer, field recording remains the core of his practice. Even if Dissolution Grip, released just a few months ago, features no audible field recordings, Kamaru still interpreted the waveforms of selections from his archives as graphic scores for compositions. But glim, released at the beginning of the year, finds the Berlin-based Kenyan artist continuing his delicate fusion of ambient field recordings and meandering synth tones, to great effect. Avoiding the cliches of both practices—no water or bird sounds, no bleeps or bloops—KMRU continues to grow as a composer. Like the album title, all but the final track consists of one word titles, offering a poetic but mostly inscrutable glimpse into the meaning lurking behind the aural scrim. Full of delicate textural manipulation and dynamic arrangements, glim continues to reveal new aspects on each subsequent immersion within its confines. (Joseph Sannicandro)





Finding Resonance: artists Arman Nouri and KMRU on power, sound and practices of listening

Berlin-based musician Joseph Kamaru — a.k.a. KMRU — has been described as an artist who draws from a rich experience of listening, in response to various global and emotional contexts. Arman Nouri — a London-based artist and half of Kin Structures — has been experimenting with programming sound-based events to gather people together, building political and community resonance. Their conversation reflects a rich reflection of and between their respective practices, exploring the potentials of sound in space.

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The Best Albums of 2023: Essential Releases



Nairobi-born, Berlin-based artist Joseph Kamaru (aka KMRU) has an academic approach to sound. This tendency beams especially bright on Dissolution Grip, which is the first release on his new label, OFNOT. The record emerged as a product of his endeavors in Sound Studies and Sonic Arts at Universität der Künste. Across three sprawling pieces, KMRU twists the waveforms of field recordings into melodic tones, causing organic textures to feel synthetic and alien. Dissolution Grip contrasts searing dissonance and raw beauty in mesmerizing fashion.


Quietus Albums Of The Year 2023 
56. KMRU – Dissolution Grip

Before I went to this year's Présences Électroniques festival in Paris, I had never even heard of KMRU, but by the end of the weekend I was an instant convert. His piece 'Dissolution Grip' was my highlight of the festival, so when I found out there was a vinyl release on the way via the artist's own OFNOT imprint, I had to get it. On record, the piece is just as warm and enveloping as it was live at Maison de la Radio, full of warm, heady swells and fizzing energies. If you were to ask me what kind of music a band of electricity pylons might come up with, were they so inclined, I might well guess something a bit like this. The flipside has 'Till Hurricane Bisect', a less immediately dramatic track but still as lush as all hell. It makes me feel very much like a man standing alone by the docks shortly before dawn while all around me everything is on fire. Someone should hire this guy to score a film. You could shoot a black screen for 90 minutes and win best cinematography.



The Kenyan artist plays with the very fabric of sound itself on his new record of powerful, sometimes serrated ambient and drone music.


Dissolution Grip Review

“Powerful ambient that creates great things from simple means - arching dynamic changes, long-drawn tones, serious dramaturgy.“ - HHV Mag



Pitchfork  DIssolution Grip



The prolific Kenyan-born, Berlin-based electronic musician departs from his typical use of field recordings, but environmental sound still makes its mark on his immersive, long-form explorations.



THE WIRE : 477






ALBUM OF THE DAY
KMRU, “Dissolution Grip”

a record by a musician masterfully bending a myriad of influences to his will.“


LOUD&QUIET
KMRU: Dissolution Grip
(OFNOT)



Dissolution Grip exists outside of time and place, while deep inside them both. As might be expected given his back catalogue, each of the sounds on KMRU’s latest project started as a location-specific field recording, but were ultimately sculpted and retooled in the image of an orchestra, giving up their origins in the pursuit of beauty.


Invité : KMRU





KMRU Launches Label with New Album'Dissolution Grip' LP is scheduled for September 29 release.





We round up 15 announcements from the last few days.

KMRU - Dissolution Grip

Label: OFNOT Release date: September 29th, 2023KMRU announced the first release on his new label, OFNOT, this week, and also revealed a new project on Finnish label Other Power.


Stupor

Nairobi-born Berlin-based sound artist Joseph Kamaru, aka KMRU, shares his new work Stupor on the new Helsinki-based label Other Power. Commissioned by the Helsinki curatorial and commissioning agency PUBLICS, Stupor is comprised of three original long form tracks. The tracks on the album are speculative notes to social architectures and environments the artist has traversed.





Composed by Joseph Kamaru
Mastered by Stephan Mathieu at Schwenbung Mastering
Original photos & artwork by Joseph Kamaru
OBI Design (Publics identity presence) by Valerio Di Lucente
Design by Matti Nives

Co-produced by Performa / PUBLICS / Other Power
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Dissolution Grip

 



“Dissolution Grip' expands at its own pace until it's a dense wall of harmony, powerful but never completely overwhelming. It's music embedded with a rich sense of place that informs us of KMRU's past and present, and signals where his musical philosophy might take us in the future. “

Pre Order Lp


Bandcamp / ANOST

Out on 29th September at OFNOT
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Drawing Water Reissue , W Abul Mogard

Reissue of KMRU's Drawing Water on Vaagner imprint A Sunken Mall - with the original material spanning the first side of the record in remastered from. The original release contained 3 supple works of porous resonance and intimate motion, giving way to a very heartfelt body of work that peers directly into the fabric of the everyday; gestures, movement, conversation, rendered graciously into waveform. For the second half of the record, the label has taped none other than Abul Mogard, who prepared a new piece by reworking various layers from KMRU’s original compositions.
This new 17 minute long piece, tilted 'Drawing Water On Matching Teal Surfaces' is defined by a continuously cascading and deeply resounding solemnness, which, towards the work’s concluding moments, gradually disperses through a subtle downpour of warm pads, delicately rippling through the fabric of the work, before gently dissolving into thin air."

    



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Slim Filter
KMRU: Lost in Teufelsberg

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TEMPORARY STORED, PRIX ARS HONORARY MENTION 2023



“(…) Temporary Stored is nonetheless not a rehashing of European colonial violence—this piece rather uses sound as a conjuring of specters of oral and cultural histories of Central and Eastern Africa.”



KMRU scores EXTANT

EXTANT, ON WHAT IS HIDDEN BETWEEN THE APPROPRIATE AND THE INAPPROPRIATE
Choreographer and associate artist Jermaine Maurice Spivey on Extant,





Five Rewire alumni featured on compilation release Remotely Together






Podcast 799: KMRU
Pensive, drifting ambient.





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A Closer Listen
Glim Review

glim cassette- Limited Edition


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Artist Tips: KMRU
The secrets behind the ambient sound artist's work.


Pitchfork Glim Review

This digital-exclusive album from the Berlin-based Kenyan artist sounds blank and unrevealing but opens up to reveal a wealth of detail. 

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KMRU’s continuing exploration of reflective ambient space and sound remained top notch on 2023’s glim, one of the artist’s most subtly varied releases yet. With mastering provided by fellow traveller Simon Scott, the twelve piece collection showcases KMRU’s approach around shorter pieces for the most part, with many only just breaking the three minute mark if not four. The expected combination of cryptic field recordings and serene drones can be found but so can crackling disruption on “strain” and the calmest sense of melody on the striking “orna.”




First Floor #162

KMRU “room” (Self-released)


There’s been no shortage of praise thrown KMRU’s way during the past few years, and much of it has focused on the Kenyan artist’s ability to strip his ambient creations down to the bare essentials. Populated with finely tuned microdetails and unassuming field recordings, KMRU’s compositions often have a quiet grace, their meditative beauty determined as much by what he puts in as what he chooses to leave out. That’s still the case on much of his new album-length release glim, but “room” offers a slight deviation, its lithe drones and orchestral swells displaying a kind of sonic stridency that feels like a new addition to his toolkit. It’s not quite as bold as Limen, his volcanic collaboration with Aho Ssan, but given that project’s raw power, perhaps it’s not surprising to see KMRU bringing a bit more muscle to his solo work. “room” is still an exquisite creation, but it’s not something that will unobtrusively loom in the background.
Random and emblematic: The sound of space


by Felicia Atkinson, Büşra Kayıkçı, Carmen Villain, Kuniyuki Takahashi, KMRU and more





Kamaru’s piece Stretch Mabati’ opens with warm saturated drones, scattered with field recordings and distant clangs of corrugated metal, all the while progressing and expanding outwards. As glitches flutter and intercept the composition, a blissful crescendo is reached, then steadily, the track simmers down, reducing to its core elements to finish.

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Narrating Environments” A Discussion between Lukasz Polowczyk and KMRU
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Recently the two artists had the opportunity for a brief chat, pondering the ethics of field recording, the importance of listening, and subliminal nature of familiar sounds.


Fact Mix 893: KMRU & Aho Ssan & Sevi Iko Dømochevsky

Artist Sevi Iko Dømochevsky visualises the kind of catastrophe that KMRU and Aho Ssan make audible in their Fact Mix, one that is painful to comprehend, yet serves as a prescient diagnosis of our present.





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Subbacultcha: An Interview with KMRU

KMRU listens to cohere with that what’s around. Sometimes as an observant with bare ears, sometimes as a collector, documenting what passes by. KMRU’s re-sculpted collages, big or small, brim with details, props and pieces of decor. They capture reveries of another time, and especially of another place. We spoke with the sound artist and musician about era’s in one life, liminality and slowing down. ‘

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curation:
V/A -INSHA  / Nairobi Ableton User Group



PreOrder Vinyl


 
ACL 2022 ~ The Top 20 Albums of the Year

KMRU & Aho Ssan ~ Limen (Subtext)
There is nothing like the sublimity of watching a natural landscape transform at the scale of human time. The video for “Resurgence”, the first track of this album, depicts an erupting volcano hauntingly recreating its surroundings. It is a haunting experience simply because what is no longer there lingers, somewhere beneath our sight, as the lava redraws the landscape anew. The music follows suit: it flows, yet grinds, like molten stone; it bubbles with electronic noises and traces the air with hisses and compressed sounds; it fills whatever space you play it in with volume. It is the perfect combination of these two artists’ practices, in terms of ambient and abrasive electronics, an overwhelming and expansive set of pieces that expressionistically builds a listening cycle of creation and destruction. The limen is the border of perception, an idea that crosses the entire album as it grows these masses of sounds — like the lands around the volcano, the music shifts right at the edge of perception, and it is impossible to truly keep in place, to fully process in the moment it happens. It will hit you, after a while, and it will burden you with the weight of the earth as it suffers its demise. Such is the power of Limen. (David Murrieta Flores)


Ransom Note- Silence: A reflection on migration and sound with Emeka Ogboh & KMRU


Kenya-born sound artist KMRU and Nigerian sound artist Emeka Ogboh discuss their respective journeys.



They often say that we are a product of our environment – that our environment is what then influences our perspective, our interests, our sense of self and our creative outlook. However, what happens when that environment changes? What happens when we are emerged in a new environment with different social constructs, different sounds, different sights and different cultural ideologies? Emeka Ogboh and KMRU are both visionary artists based in the city of Berlin, both have worked tirelessly in fierce pursuit of endeavours and projects which challenge and deconstruct the boundaries and sensibilities of art’.

In this conversation the two reflect on the shock they experienced when experiencing the silence of the city for the first time; recount stories of their most powerful installations and the narrative of ‘experimental’ art in the context of African culture.

Boomkat Review: Epoch

Kenyan sound artist KMRU pushes off deep into Berlin skool ambient on a richly layered and empathetic suite on a return to Seil Records, site of his debut album.

KMRU follows collaborations with Seefeel, Luke Slater/Speedy J, Echium and Aho Ssan for the likes of Editions Mego and Berghain’s A-Ton, with a bouquet of bittersweet synth meditations that return us to his most intimate side. Doing for ambient electronica what his fellow Kenyan artist Slikback did for techno, KMRU exerts an expressionist angle on the paradigm with a distinctive grasp of texture and tone mirroring aspects of 0PN or Emeralds’ capacity for evoking nostalgia and a sort of fraught sublime, allowing everything space in the mix to breath with an unhurried pace and subtly stressed tang that effortlessly enchants to his slant.

Now a resident in Berlin, KMRU implicitly echoes the spaced-out seduction of Conrad Schnitzler’s early work with Tangerine Dream and Kluster, and later works by Cluster or even Sun Electric, in his navigation of buttons, faders and wires. The silvery grayscale tone and warmth of ‘guise’ sets the mood for a drift between pastoral melodies and field recordings of in pieces’, thru the serenity of ‘luminous beings’ and OOBE-like sensation of ‘resonant sharing’, to his most bittersweet use of texture on the edge of noise with ‘In new fields’. From there the album takes on a more rhythmic impulse with results recalling Lali Puna in mood’, and even more eaze’s puckered suss in ‘other times’, thru to a heavenly airborne waltz titled just’.



The 50 Best Album Covers of 2022
40. KMRU & Aho Ssan, Limen




Limen is a fascinating collision of styles. Given Kenyan sound artist KMRU and French electronic musician Aho Ssan’s normally divergent approaches to minimalism – contemplative ambient and chaotically abrasive deconstructed club, respectively – you would expect the duo to try to find an effective middle ground. Yet what they describe as a seamless back-and-forth led the two artists to push themselves to new extremes, and the resulting album reaches the sort of gracefully volcanic intensity that its cover beautifully exudes. “For the cover of Limen we were looking for an image that mirrored and expressed the sense we had of our collaborative working process,” Joseph Kamaru told us. “The image, by Martin Rietze of Sumatra’s Sinabung erupting in 2014, expresses various materials and elements — stone, air, lightning, cloud, and pyroclastic flow —  that are driven into synchronization by geologic forces as one dynamic process  in which everything becomes a single organic and explosive moment, transcending its constituent elements.”




Kenyan Sound Artist KMRU’s New Album Emerges from a Desire to be Grounded
'epoch' LP is available now.



KMRU - epoch
Seil Records

For his follow-up to 2020's acclaimed Jar, Berlin-based Kenyan sound artist Joseph Kamaru realized he needed to reflect on just how much had changed in two short years. Even aside from the obvious global disruptions, Kamaru's life had changed completely: a move to a new continent, a sequence of fresh creative projects (including work with Paris's Aho Ssan and Manchester's Echium) and tours with Big Thief and Fennesz inspired Kamaru to think a little differently about his creative expression.

Written in Spring 2022,  epoch emerged from a desire to be grounded. Constant touring had left Kamaru with a desire to slow things down to sooth some of the emotional intensity of continual movement - something he'd never realized he had the strength to endure. It felt fulfilling for him to be back in Berlin for a while, so he channeled this energy into the technical challenge of getting to know a brand new synthesizer - the Sequential Prophet REV2 - that's responsible for the majority of the sounds on the album. Secluded in his home studio, Kamaru dubbed synth sounds on the fly using pedals, looping and layering, then filling out the tracks with field recordings captured while on tour in the USA.

It was effortless, he explains. The album finished itself. Kamaru had been listening obsessively to iconic American synth trio Emeralds which motivated him to explore pure synthesis: to build sounds from scratch and form his music in a more holistic, emotionally connected way. Grateful for the experiences he'd managed to have while traveling and meeting new people, epoch his way of unravelling these feelings in slow-motion. From the gently saturated opening notes on 'guise', there's a feeling of tenderness that's impossible to ignore. The faint rustle of human beings in the distance - laughing, talking - reminds us of the world outside, while deep, brassy harmonies sooth the soul.
Unlike Kamaru's explosive, noisy collaboration with Aho Ssan -Limen, epoch is an exercise in restraint and control. While he's influenced by the synth music canon, Kamaru uses these colors to paint his own unique landscape, broadcasting a story that's steeped in experience, movement, and careful observation. Tracks bleed into one another like dye in water, and the record takes on a dreamlike quality - explaining it is difficult, but feeling it is profound.

text: john twells


    




KMRU “mood” (Seil)


Kenyan producer KMRU rarely lets more than a few months go by without sharing new music—most of it excellent—but epoch is his first new solo album in quite some time. (It’s also currently available as a name-your-price download on Bandcamp.) Dealing heavily in gentle drones, soft melodies and elegant field recordings, the record should further solidify his position as one of ambient music’s most thoughtful and talented figures, and hits a particularly high note on “mood,” a song which impressively finds serenity amongst a pulsing tone (that honestly recalls an old-school busy signal) and what sounds like rustling paperclips.
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Burberry x KMRU
Festive Gifting campaign 2022

sync:
Track: Matching Teal Surfaces
Artist: KMRU

 





Selections: KMRU


In this series, Selections, we invite DJs, producers and label heads to dig into their digital crates and share the contents of their collections. This week, KMRU spotlights blissful synths, tactile guitars, streetscape sound design, indie rock and more.


RA unveils full details of limited-edition birthday book, Sacred Spaces





Bandcamp Navigator, November 2022

KMRU
Temporary Stored


The second track of Kenyan ambient artist KMRU’s latest album “MR1” starts off in a way that is similar to The Orb’s “Into the Fourth Dimension,” one of the more abstract pieces on The Orb’s Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld. The elements are all there—looped samples of people speaking, field recordings, a mix that rushes from left to right in a way that is almost dizzying if you’re listening in headphones—but KMRU’s work slowly, subtly, begins to change this formula. Instead of staying low-key, floaty, and mesmerizing, it slowly adds more, louder sounds to the mix, causing one’s mind to have to do a little work to keep up. It’s, frankly, exhilarating in a way that ambient music, usually by intent, rarely achieves. That’s the theme for all of the tracks on this spectacular album. The elements of these songs—chants, rumbling synths, news reports, the occasional kalimba—all vie for center stage. Somehow, it’s never chaotic. KMRU is adept enough at his craft to ensure that the components of his work are never fighting each other for attention. Rather, they’re all boldly asserting themselves and working together to create a result greater than its parts—an album that is fresh, mysterious, and infinitely compelling.




BERLIN ATONAL X CYPRIEN GAILLARD PRESENT: A GREAT FALL, Palais de Tokyo.


For the exhibition HUMPTY DUMPTY, Cyprien Gaillard and Berlin Atonal make a new collaboration. Together they have invited a lineup of special artists to use the medium of the dub soundsystem as a way of transforming the entire museum space into a new kind of echo chamber for one night. The heterogeneous line-up brings together legendary experimental drum and bass pioneer Krust and Kenyan soundscape experimentalist KMRU, Rhythmic sorcerer Nkisi and Mellowdramatics from the London-based Black Obsidian Sound System.




KMRU - don't linger they might see you

An unsettling homage to the mysterious nature of dreams from the Berlin ambient music star.
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As KMRU, the Nairobi born, Berlin-based producer Joseph Kamaru has experimented with many different strains of ambient music. He's currently pursuing a masters degree in Sound Studies and Sonic Art, and it's not hard to pinpoint the impact that this academic approach to contemporary composition has on his work. Where the July LP Temporary Stored used field recordings to grapple with themes of colonialism, his new single, "don't linger they might see you," is more eerie and esoteric. Contrasting found sound samples with periods of quietude, it's inspired by the surreal realms we visit in our slumber. Over the course of 32 minutes, staticky field recordings underline subdued synth tones that morph from bassy drones to metallic, trebly pads. The sprawling piece evokes absorbing a scene in a horror movie without ever turning towards the screen.


Courtesy “Night Journeys III (KMRU Remix)” (Kulør)


DJs will undoubtedly reach for the high-octane reworks that populate much of Courtesy’s new Night Journeys Remixes EP. Those unconcerned with revving up the dancefloor, however, can luxuriate in KMRU’s spacious take on “Night Journeys III,” in which the Kenyan ambient specialist stretches the song’s reverberant guitar tones across a moonlit night sky, ultimately sounding something like a ’90s slowcore band playing on the surface of the moon.
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Visiting Artist KMRU at Un-Writing Nature
Center for Arts, Design, and Social Research



The Center for Arts, Design, and Social Research (CAD+SR) is delighted to announce that Joseph Kamaru, aka KMRU, will be a Visiting Artist at Un-Writing Nature II, an intensive research residency and workshop to be held at the historic Villa Pianciani, Spoleto, Italy, September 27 - October 4, 2022.

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MOS DEF, KMRU, MAKAYA MCCRAVEN, MORE FEATURE ON SOUNDTRACK FOR NEW NETFLIX DOCUMENTARY, CIVIL

Netflix has unveiled the soundtrack credits for its new documentary, 'Civil: Ben Crump'.

Among the artists whose music features on the film are Mos Def, KMRU – with two tracks from his 2020 album 'Jar' – Makaya McCraven, K-Ci & JoJo, and Bobby Womack.

The documentary itself focuses on the life and legacy of American civil right attorney Ben Crump, who has represented the families of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, Black victims of police brutality in the US.






KMRU & Aho Ssan erupt in post-apocalyptic extremity with ‘Resurgence’

An explosive edit from Limen, the first collaborative project from Kenyan sound artist Joseph Kamaru and French electronic composer and producer Niamké Désiré.




A tale of two Kamarus

Two musicians bore the name, Joseph Kamaru, a grandfather lost to time and a grandson in the midst of his destiny. Here’s the story of the Kenyan folk titan and his ambient composer grandson, what they share and the weight of legacy. Interview.


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Acid Test: April 2022

KMRU & Aho Ssan
Limen


Listening to Limen, the cataclysmic debut album from KMRU and Aho Ssan, is like watching something beautiful burn to the ground. Over recent years, both of these sound artists have released defining work while taking very different approaches. The Berlin-based Joseph “KMRU” Kamaru’s gorgeous ambient pieces typically begin as field recordings, often taken from his home in Kenya or around other regions of East Africa. Meanwhile, the Paris-based Aho Ssan (aka Niamké Désiré) is best known for building virtual instruments and dense Max/MSP constructions like 2020’s Simulacrum. On Limen, their approaches connect like a spark hitting dry brush, leaving hellfire in its wake.

The pair draw influence from the anime Akira (1988), and just as that classic film sets deep character dynamics against the sprawling backdrop of a global apocalypse, Limen’s three tracks maintain an intimate focus amidst an epic scale. Through body-shaking blasts of sub-bass, surges of electronic noise, and ghostly slivers of melody, opener “Resurgence” creates a storm of disorienting sound without ever letting you lose sight of its tragic, emotional pull. The brief, cathartic centerpiece “Rebirth” burns at the album’s core before setting up “Ruined Abstraction,” a sprawling 21-minute closer whose gentler sonics offer no respite—only images of embers, ruins, and ashes. An operatic voice appears in the final moments, but it’s hard to tell whether it’s there to offer a glimpse of hope, or simply an elegy. That answer may be left up to the listener, but the path Limen takes to even reach that question is a journey worth experiencing. It is one of the year’s most powerful albums.



KMRU and Aho Ssan Announce New Album Limen

Sound artists KMRU and Aho Ssan have announced the collaborative album Limen. The record is out April 29 via Subtext. Below, listen to a preview of the album’s first song “Resurgence.”





KMRU AND AHO SSAN COLLABORATE ON NEW ALBUM, 'LIMEN'

Titled 'Limen', the album takes in three tracks, one of which totals 21 minutes. It's the first studio collaboration from the two artists, following a previous live link-up at Berlin Atonal. KMRU has also remixed Ssan's tracks 'Outro'.

The album is said to be inspired by various global changes that occurred amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and is on the noisier side compared to the respective artists' usual solo material. Ssan is quoted in the press materials as saying he's "never made something so extreme" as the 21-minute cut 'Ruined Abstractions'.

You can check out an excerpt of 'Resurgence', one of the album's three cuts, below. It will be released through James Ginzburg's Subtext label on 29th April.


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The LP is out April 29th via James Ginzburg's label, Subtext Recordings.

KMRU and Aho Ssan have linked up for an album on Subtext.Spanning three tracks, one of which clocks in at 21 minutes, Limen is the first studio collaboration from the two artists, following a performance at Berlin Atonal and a KMRU remix of Ssan's track "Outro." James Ginzburg's label will release the LP on April 29th.Inspired by global shifts during the pandemic, Limen is noisier and more intense than either artist's solo work, particularly KMRU's minimalist ambient. According to Ssan, he has "never made something so extreme" as the extended album cut "Ruined Abstractions."

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Limen : KMRU & Aho Ssan





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THE BEST DJ MIXES OF THE YEAR 2022 SO FAR
KMRU - DEKMANTEL PODCAST 378’

When your brain needs a break from the relentless chaos of the world, KMRU is a go-to artist for sounds that soothe and relax. The Kenyan artist’s mix for Dekmantel’s podcast series is a remarkably beautiful hour of music, cocooning you in a blissed-out haze of ambient textures.


Experimental sound artist KMRU is a master of quietness. His music is as much about empty space as it is the delicate field recordings that fill it in.

The Kenyan has been perfecting this balancing act from his base in Berlin, most notably on 2020 full-length Peel. It's a record of slowly unfolding synth beauty and drawn-out drone mindfulness. Soft focus chords bleed and blend into one another like different shades of watercolour paint and the environmental nature of the sound sources lends it a gorgeously natural atmosphere.

For this week's most meditative mix, KMRU puts together an hour of soothing sound in a painterly fashion. It is unhurried but always going somewhere thanks to a gentle underlapping rhythm, expansive synth arc or little hiss of static. What sounds like distant vocal calls drift in and out of the mix which at times is like a recording from the furthest recess of the cosmos, at others the pleasant ambiance you might hear out of a Berlin window on a sunny afternoon.




50 Years of Music: 2020 – KMRU - “Degree of Change”



SHAPE Platform is taking over crackaud.io this week


KMRU with Markus Heckmann
Presented by Musikprotokoll, Graz

KMRU’s absorbing ambient compositions have the capacity to make time stand still. Always attuned to the sounds of his surroundings, Joseph Kamaru – aka KMRU – transforms environmental field recordings into mesmerising sound art, as evidenced on the graceful Peel or his 2021 release Logue.

For this transcendent new audiovisual work for the SHAPE Platform takeover, KMRU has teamed up with visual artist Markus Heckmann. Speaking on the piece, entitled By Absence, the pair state: “Considering an emancipatory approach to composition, By Absence juxtaposes on one sound that goes throughout the piece with its relation to the other sounds reconfigured from the same sound.”

Continuing, they add: “This long durational piece changes subtly, although still recounting to the main sound; an antiphonal unrestrained structure that provokes a sense of stillness from noisiness of happenings to phygital [physical plus digital] worlds.”



AIAIAI
FREEDOM
TO CREATE
EP 01: KMRU




SHAPE Mix Series X CTM
Conversation with borshch magazine






London Contemporary Orchestra:
24 Sat 15—Sun 16 Jan 2022,Barbican Hall

The endlessly inventive London Contemporary Orchestra perform one of their biggest live undertakings to date: a continuous 24 hour concert.

But this is by no means taxing, for the audience at least. Relax into an ambient, meditative experience as visuals by projection artist László Zsolt Bordos kaleidoscopically draw you in to a state of deep reflection.

Featuring iconic durational works by composers such as Morton Feldman’s six-hour piece String Quartet No 2 taking the audience through the depths of the night as well as new pieces performed by electronic musicians Actress, Powell and KMRU, plus works by John Cage, Éliane Radigue, Mica Levi, Alvin Lucier, Morton Feldman, Michael Gordon and James Tenney.

Audience members are encouraged to come and go as they please during the 24 hour period, stay for one, two or 24 hours...



London Contemporary Orchestra: 24, Barbican, stage review: ‘Marathon concert offers an eye-opening view of music and humanity’



Ableton:
Big Ideas and Brilliant Sounds: Eight Standout Features and Videos from 2021


KMRU/ Spaces

Travelling from his childhood roots to where he lives now, Nairobi-born, Berlin-based artist KMRU took us through his approach to location-based field recording in the short film Spaces, which premiered during the Loop Create event in June.

Watch the film >


Laraaji, KMRU, Wata Igarashi feature on Figure's second ambient compilation, Open Space Vol. 2



The 10 best contemporary albums of 2021
7. KMRU – Logue



The Bandcamp page of KMRU – a sound artist based between Berlin and Nairobi, AKA Joseph Kamaru – is always worth checking out for ambient textures. Logue, the third of five mini-albums he released this year, is an addictive mix of meditative electronica, slow-motion synth-pop and bucolic field recordings from east Africa.


KMRU US/ CA Tour 2022



Big Thief Europe Tour w/ KMRU


KMRU mixes music from Seefeel's Warp retrospective for cassette and zine

Rapture To Rupt is out now.



KMRU has mixed 60 minutes of music from Seefeel's recent retrospective compilation on Warp.Put together on a train from Berlin to Warsaw, the mix selects music from the UK experimental band's comprehensive reissue box set, which came out in May. Out now, the mix is available digitally and as a limited-edition tape, which includes a zine featuring an interview between the band and dance music journalist and author Simon Reynolds.Listen to KMRU's Rapture To Rupt, and revisit our recent RA Exchange with Seefeel's Mark Clifford.




KMRU X Seefeel : Rapture to Rupt


The London-based experimental band Seefeel were cutting-edge polymaths from the start. Pulling in influences from the indie and electronic undergrounds, they were positioned as something like a fulcrum between shoegaze and dub techno. In conjunction with the release of their Rupt and Flex (1994-96) compilation on Warp, Seefeel has teamed up with sound artist and experimental ambient musician KMRU, raised in Nairobi, Kenya and currently based in Berlin where he is a Master’s student in Sound Studies and Sonic Arts at the Universität der Künste. It's an incredibly immersive hour-long reworking of tracks from that fertile period, released on cassette as one track. Rapture To Rupt finds KMRU pulling apart the band’s innovative work into a series of expansive and hypnotic drones. The tape is housed in a glassine envelope along with a sixteen page zine that includes an interview with famed music journalist Simon Reynolds.

All music by Seefeel, original versions can be found on Rupt & Flex 1994 - 96
Mix by KMRU. Made on the train between Berlin and Warsaw
Design by Joseph Durnan








KMRU: Spaces


Is the music we make necessarily informed by where we’re born and raised? Or is it largely determined by where we go from there? Or maybe where we are right now is the only place that matters? These and related questions are at the heart of our new artist documentary movie; KMRU: Spaces.

The movie, first streamed as part of the online event Loop Create, follows KMRU’s path from his childhood in Nairobi, to his family’s move to the outskirts of the city, and finally to Berlin - his current home. Along the way we see footage of the artist in some of the places and spaces that have inspired him in his work and hear how his changing surroundings impacted his way of hearing, recording and crucially, composing his music.








The 10 Top Live Acts Of The Year 2021


KMRU

After his family moved from an inner city Nairobi neighbourhood to Rongai on the edge of one of Kenya’s vast national parks, Joseph Kamaru became obsessed with nature and the sounds it produces. He weaves field recordings taken from his surroundings into his transfixing live sets, which also explore live jamming, stuttering distortion and eerie ambience to hypnotic effect. A recent collab with motion designer MinimalicQuantum added a dazzling visual dimension to this naturalistic exploration. Having been based in Berlin all year, studying a Sound Studies and Sonic Arts degree, KMRU has found a new world to record and aurally explore. He’s since emerged as favourite on the European experimental scene, with sets he’s played this year including a live stream inside Berghain with Luke Slater and Speedy J, and festivals across France, Spain, Poland, Germany and Austria.
]


Our 50 favourite albums of 2021


6. KMRU

Logue


(Injazero Records)

Buy

The 2020 discovery of glittering Kenyan producer and composer thanks to his album Peel brought a much needed luminescence to otherwise dark days last year. Peel swiftly became a portal into his prolific output, spanning compositions released on Bandcamp, as well as digital and physical LPs too. Ever-growing infatuation with the wonders of his cinematic sound design and ambient compositions was furthered thanks in large part to Logue. Taking its moniker from a catalogue, or Logue, of his music, the tracks are collected between 2017-2019, yet each one gives way perfectly to the next. Amidst instrumentals and his field recordings from Africa, KMRU leads you by the hand on a journey through his captivating universe – one that simultaneously feels otherworldly and real. Birds chirping break the day, rushing water falls flow anew, wind rushes across your limbs, a mediation of listening. – GH


Quietus Charts

The Quietus Albums Of The Year So Far Chart 2021


60. KMRU –Logue(Injazero)

Logue takes in rippling ambient/drone lushness from a well-travelled Kenyan, Joseph Kamaru, who is now resident in Berlin. Recorded between 2017 and 2019, it's built equally of nu-new age synth melodies (with outbreaks of what seems to be live instrumentation) and field recordings which, inscrutable in their origins, transport KMRU’s music to somewhere more sinister than blissful.Noel Gardner



Watch a documentary about field recording with experimental producer KMRU


The Nairobi-via-Berlin artist has also shared a free pack of field recordings from Kenya, Uganda, Canada, Germany and France.

KMRU is the focus of a new documentary by Ableton. The 11-minute film, entitled KMRU: Spaces, delves into the ways in which the producer and sound artist draws inspiration from his surroundings, and uses sound to explore the world around him.

The documentary zooms in several defining moments from KMRU’s (real name Joseph Kamaru’s) life so far, and explores how these experiences influence his work, and his approach to music-making and field recording. Kamaru reflects on a childhood spent in Nairobi’s loud and bustling city centre, as well as a period spent on the outskirts of the city, on the border of a national park. In the film, Kamaru compares the two locations and their varying soundscapes.

Last year, Kamaru relocated from Nairobi to Berlin to pursue a Master’s in Sound Studies and Sonic Arts. He discusses the move in the film, and reflects on how his work has shifted in response to his new environment. He also walks viewers through some of his studio and production processes.

Watch the new film in the player above and download KMRU’s free field recordings here. You can also revisit our feature on the experimental artist, taken from Issue 120.




KMRU: IMPERCEPTIBLE , PERCEPTIBLE


For this streamed commission, KMRU presents imperceptible , perceptible. Constructing remembered sonic thoughts of decayed time, the piece explores lived experiences of sound, gradually returning us, we, them to the present or past. Exploring field recordings, noise and drone, imperceptible , perceptible probes to impetus the knowing. Subtle durational changes of sounds, and moving images create phantasms as reflection of the present.

Thu 18 Nov, 2021, 8pm

Streaming on this webpage and Vimeo



A haunting ambient blur that makes for a good, if melancholy, Halloween soundtrack


KMRU's new Bleep mix is a gorgeous impressionist array of vague shapes and blurred figures, occasionally coalescing into melodies or discrete sounds. It's pretty, unpredictable and occasionally, of course, spooky.

Bleep Mix #211 - KMRU



To celebrate the release of the Tresor 30 box set we have a special mix from KMRU. Enjoy.
A contemplative dive into the sonic remembering, the mix to me evokes the sense or remembrance or trying to remember, featuring artists and musics that I've been listening and remembering in the past months.







For some musicians, the pandemic seems to have had positive effects on the cultural scene despite the devastating damage it caused to the fields. The producer Joseph Kamaru alias KMRU was one of the discoveries in electronic music last year. It helped that the Kenyan-born and Berlin-based ambient musician landed with Editions Mego with his album Peel . It shouldn't be the last of his releases in 2020. After five albums in just under two years, he has now teamed up with colleague Echium for an album of sublime serenity.

Rather clear in length, Peripheral wanders from one island of silence to the next in stations lasting three to six minutes. Getting to the heart of the success with Ambient is usually faced with the obstacle that the music likes to evade conceptual access. In the case of KMRU and Echium, the almost static surfaces are initially moved by the usual reverb, then open up visibly through loose sound combinations. Some of the pieces even have a rather dry acoustics, just bring a few milky chords to flow with minimal noise accents. Even without an aesthetic revolution, there is a lot going on here.





The outside is droning: An interview with KMRU



2:36 PM Nairobi

Podcast by Thomas Burkhalter, Daniel Jakob







KMRU AND ECHIUM TEAM UP ON ‘PERIPHERAL’ LP: LISTEN


The eight-track album was produced remotely between Nairobi and Manchester

KMRU and Echium have collaborated on a new album, ‘Peripheral’. Check it out below.

The eight-track experimental ambient release was produced between the artist’s respective homes in Nairobi and Manchester, with the artists combining their respective specialisms into what KMRU has described as a “psychic collaboration”.

KMRU, who is now based in Berlin, folds his organic field recording manipulations and textured electronics into Echium’s sparse and frosty dub techno atmospheres. Echium also created the album’s abstract artwork.

As John Twells writes in the album’s accompanying text: “Echium and KMRU make abstract electronic music that sounds as if it's bursting free of the digital world: they ink a utopia that's verdant, fertile and teeming with life.”

listen to, and buy, ‘Peripheral’, via KMRU’s Bandcamp.


Music in space, music in place




KMRU Releases New EP As It Still Is: Listen

A five-song follow-up to the electronic musician’s May album Logue

KMRU has released the new EP As It Still Is. KMRU wrote his EP in Berlin during the winter, and Rafael Anton Irisarri mastered the five-song release at Black Knoll Studio in New York. Listen to As It Still Is below.

In a statement, KMRU said his EP is “bringing together fragments of recordings and narratives which were quite nostalgic.” He continued, “Using field recordings mostly from Nairobi, I was trying to reconstruct some past lived experiences in the present longings (at that time), reflecting on nostalgia as a refiguration of past experiences, whether lived or reminisced.” Listen to

KMRU is the moniker of Berlin-based Kenyan electronic musician and sound-artist Joseph Kamaru. He released the full-length Logue in May.

Read the Rising interview “Meet KMRU, the Ambient Musician With His Ear to the World.”


Koki Nakano “Overlay (KMRU Remix)” (No Format)


No excuse is needed to highlight the talents of KMRU, but given the passing of Editions Mego founder Rehberg last week, now seems like a good time to once again highlight one of his label’s biggest recent success stories. Here, the Berlin-based Kenyan transforms Koki Nakano’s “Overlay,” weaving the Japanese pianist’s elegant chords into crackling loops, ultimately landing on something that’s both hazy and comfortably meditative.



10 mixes you need to hear this month

KMRU


Leftfield sounds from Africa and the diaspora
KMRU’s music feels both unique and familiar. His releases (like May’s Logue LP) demonstrate this duality well, with the Kenyan artist flexing his skills within the realms of ambient and leftfield electronic music much to the delight of his ever-increasing fan base. This mix, shared as part of our Specialist Mix series, offers a similar experience. However, instead of honing in on his own sound, KMRU showcases a selection of music from Black artists in Africa and across the diaspora. There are tunes from Slikback, Space Afrika, Nexcyia, Wayne Phoenix, alongside several of his own, sprinkled in for good measure. Plug in, unwind and be sure to check out the full tracklist on crackaud.io.




13 artists on Jon Hassell’s musical legacy




KMRU

I was listening to a lot of Brian Eno’s works and this led me to discover Vernal Equinox. I was really inspired by Jon Hassell’s approach to playing the trumpet, and all the futuristic timbral sounds of his works. His concept of the Fourth World is still relevant today.

Intonal Festival 2021: KMRU


Kenyan producer Joseph Kamaru performs an experimental session as part of the Swedish festival’s 2021 programme.

The second of this week’s performances from the 2021 edition of Malmö’s Intonal Festival comes from Joseph Kamaru aka KMRU, a experimental musician and sound artist from Kenya. Kamaru’s music makes extensive use of field recording techniques to create multi-layered, richly textured ambient compositions. Last year, he released three albums, including the outstanding Peel for Editions Mego.

Kamaru’s performance, which took place on June 18 at Malmö’s beautiful St. John’s Church, sees the artist make use of synth hardware and software on a set that contrasts delicate tones with rough, noisy textures. It makes for a suitable companion to Johanna Knutsson’s Intonal performance, which took place in the same venue.


Camera Operators: Amanda Davies, Tony Jageteg & Henrik Hellström
Editor: Henrik Hellström




InFiné, le Maintenant Festival, le Centquatre et le Groupe de Recherches Musicales de l’INA ont mis en place un dispositif d’accompagnement de carrière artistique inédit.



After discovering him in 2018 and seduced by his artistic approach, these four actors of the cultural sector, defenders of creation and emergence, decided to unite their strength around the music of the Kenyan producer KMRU .

Initially, the INA grm made a studio available to the composer for an artistic residency from June 14 to 27, 2021. This allowed him  to experiment and develop his musical practice through instruments and unique infrastructures in France. Like other guests before him - Jim O'Rourke, Matmos, Kali Malone to name a few - KMRU was able to  deepen its research around concrete, electroacoustic and experimental music in the best conditions.

This Parisian residency will be followed by a live creation time around a 360 ° "multichannel" device , presented exclusively during the 2021 edition of the Now Festival in Rennes as well as at the anniversary weekend of the fifteen. years of InFiné at the Centquatre next winter.

Finally, this collaboration will be punctuated by a KMRU album released by the InFiné label in 2022.

   





Luke Slater collaborates with Lady Starlight, KMRU, Surgeon, Speedy J and Tom Moth on A-TON album



Ostgut Ton's experimental sub-label A-TON is releasing a collection of Luke Slater's lockdown collaborations.Out digitally June 25th and on vinyl in August, DIALOGUE features four tracks between 15 and 25 minutes in length. They were each produced remotely during lockdown by Luke Slater and collaborators Anthony Child (AKA Surgeon), Speedy J, KMRU, Lady Starlight and Tom Moth, the harpist in Florence + The Machine."It's not live jamming as such," explains Slater, who conceived the project and proposed it to A-TON. "

A single live, one-take recording of audio and video is passed from person one to person two as a file. Then they, using that as a background, record their performance in the same way. Both performances are then passed to a third performer who does the same. Then I mix it at the end."Slater features on all four tracks, while Surgeon features on three, Moth on two, and Lady Starlight and KMRU once each."

My contribution was at the third stage," Speedy J told Resident Advisor. "The material I got to work with had the layers from Luke and Joseph already done, so I took what was already there and filled in the open spaces. My approach was to enhance the stuff they did, and complete their ideas. They initiated, and I commented."Each of the artists used one machine only, without sync or beat-matching, and built up the process as a domino effect of audio and video stems. "The beauty is always in the unknown and spontaneity in improvisation," said KMRU.

Listen to DIALOGUE.



     

KMRU: Ways of hearing


Leftfield sounds from Africa and the diaspora – Mixed by KMRU

  


The Kenyan ambient artist – real name Joseph Kamaru – has garnered the attention of music fans worldwide over the last year thanks to his deeply moving output, and drifting, meditative sounds. In 2020, he released three LPs – Peel, Jar and Opaquer – with the former landing via Viennese experimental imprint Editions Mego. All three releases – plus last month’s album, Logue – signal an artist with a clear focus and boundless vision.

Given his compelling approach to composition and arrangements, we thought we’d tap Kamaru for a specialist mix devoted to the sort of leftfield, experimental and ambient sounds he’s been quietly fashioning into something that sounds entirely unique to him. Kamaru’s mix showcases an array of tracks produced by Black artists from Africa, and the diaspora.





Loop Create



Sound out of Place with KMRU

13:45 & 21:45 Amsterdam (UTC+2)

Personal Take | 30 minutes

Music makers have often cited places they’ve been as sources of inspiration. This is certainly true for KMRU – producer, sound artist, and great advocate for listening to our surroundings.

KMRU, known for his use of field recordings in emotive, experimental compositions, spent his formative years in Nairobi, where he says the background noise was constant. Upon moving outside the city in his teens, he found that the stillness of his new hometown drastically changed how he heard the sounds around him. This contrast he perceived, and the resulting shift in his creative output, cemented in him just how deeply our sonic environment can influence us.

But there’s more to an artist’s work than their surroundings – personal history, internal feelings and beliefs can all play a part in the creative process. In this session, KMRU will tell the story of the urban and social world that helped form his ideas and artistic personality, and invites us to discuss with him in an extended Q&A: Is the music we make necessarily informed by where we’re from? Can we find ways to appreciate artists’ influences, without minimizing their experiences or reducing their work to just an example of a culture?

KMRU's participation is possible with support from Paris cultural institution INA GRM, where he is currently artist-in-residence and will be streaming from for Loop Create.



LSBU's Sonic Research Group and South Bank Sound Lab



LSBU's Sonic Research Group and South Bank Sound Lab are excited to launch a series of three Listening Sessions with invited guests, who will join us to share recent compositions or works-in-progress, and give us an insight into their creative process.For our second session, we are delighted to host Kaffe Matthews and Joseph Kamaru aka KMRU, two sound artists known for - amongst other things - working with field recordings



-

Shape Artist KMRU beim diesjährigen ORF musikprotokoll


https://oe1.orf.at/programm/20210617/641549/Shape-Artist-KMRU-beim-diesjaehrigen-ORF-musikprotokoll

KMRU im Zeit-Ton Porträt


Diese Woche präsentiert das ORF musikprotokoll im steirischen herbst sein Festivalprogramm 2021 und auch dieses Mal haben wir wieder mehrere Musiker/innen eingeladen, die heuer bei Shape dabei sind. Shape, das ist die Plattform für spannende neue Musik und audiovisuelle Kunst des Festivalnetzwerkes ICAS der International Cities of Advanced Sound, die Ende 2014 vom ORF musikprotokoll und fünfzehn weiteren europäischen Festivals gegründet wurde. Jedes Jahr nominieren wir gemeinsam 48 Künstler/innen bzw. Kunstformationen, auf die dann zwölf Monate lang unsere Scheinwerfer gerichtet sind.

Kennenlernen beim Nyege Nyege Festival 2018

Zu unseren zahlreichen Aktivitäten zählt auch ein jährlicher Shape Showcase bei einem befreundeten Festival außerhalb der Europäischen Union. 2018 führte uns dieser zu unserem ICAS Partner im ugandischen Jinja, zum Nyege Nyege Festival. Dort haben wir KMRU kennengelernt, dessen so feingesponnene Musik uns gleich aufhorchen ließ. Mittlerweile gilt der ursprünglich aus Nairobi stammende Musiker als einer der spannendsten Vertreter der ostafrikanischen Elektronikszene. Vergangenen Juli erschien bei dem renommierten Label Editions Mego sein Album "Peel", seit vergangenem Herbst macht KMRU an der Universität der Künste in Berlin seinen Master im Studienlehrgang "Sound Studies and Sonic Arts".

Musik, so unberechenbar wie das Leben

Als musikalisches Ausgangsmaterial verwendet KMRU vorwiegend Field Recordings, neben Synthesizern und weiteren elektronischen Instrumenten, die er auch Mal so verschaltet, dass sie mit vermeintlich fehlerhaften Klängen überraschen. Nach seiner Kompositionsmethode gefragt, schildert der Künstler, wie gerne er improvisiert; sich von seiner Intuition und der Magie des Moments leiten lässt. Seine Musik solle so unberechenbar wie das Leben selbst sein.

"Es ist wie im Leben, so vieles passiert gleichzeitig und alles befindet sich in einem steten Wandel. Es gibt kein Raster, demzufolge etwa der Krankenwagen genau um 3 Uhr 45 vorbeifahren wird oder dergleichen", führt KMRU aus. "Das Leben ist vielmehr ein ständiges Zusammenspiel von Zufälligkeiten. Deswegen habe ich 2019 aufgehört mit einem Metronom, mit einer fixen Zeitstruktur zu arbeiten. Meine Musik soll sich ganz natürlich entwickeln. Ich versuche, beim Komponieren nicht zu viel über das Ergebnis nachzudenken, um mich von Ideen nicht blockieren zu lassen. Ich möchte so frei wie möglich sein. Ja, meine Musik soll so unberechenbar wie das Leben selbst sein, wie der Wind oder ein Baum.

Im Zwielicht

Im ersten Moment versprüht die Musik von KMRU eine oft heimelig anmutende, mitunter geradezu lieblich verträumte Atmosphäre, in die sich jedoch bald eine untergründig brodelnde Spannung einschleicht, bis man plötzlich meint mitten in einem Zwielicht zu stehen oder in einem Nebel, in dem sich alles in nichts aufzulösen scheint.

"In der Regel versuche ich einen Zustand herzustellen, in dem man nicht so genau weiß, was man fühlen soll und ob man diesen Sound gerade wirklich gehört hat", so der Künstler. "Bei "Peel" ist mir das am besten gelungen. Auch ich entdecke bei jedem Hören neue Details. Ja, man soll sich beim Hören meiner Musik in einem Zwischenraum wiederfinden."

Engagierter Netzwerker

Neben seiner eigenen künstlerischen Tätigkeit engagiert sich KMRU auch sehr für seine Kolleg/innen, stellt ihre Musik in Radiosendungen vor oder gibt sein Wissen im Rahmen von Workshops weiter. So hat er etwa in Nairobi eine Ableton User Group gegründet und war am Aufbau von Black Artist Database (ehemals "Black Bandcamp") beteiligt, - mehr darüber gibt es dann am kommenden Sonntag in Zeit-Ton extended zu hören.

(Shape wird durch das Programm "Kreatives Europa" der Europäischen Union gefördert.)

Gestaltung: Susanna Niedermayr
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Concerts / Etnoscòpic





El keniata KMRU inauguró en la basílica de Santa María del Mar el festival multidisciplinar Etnoscòpic

El artista desplegó su música ‘ambient’ en una hermosa velada de espiritualidad laica


Concierto de KMRU en la basílica de Santa Maria del Mar.Albert Garcia / EL PAÍS



Best Mixes

May 2021

  • KMRU

    Groove Podcast 297



    KMRU said his goal with his new Groove mix was "to offer a transcendental experience," and he gets pretty darn close with this hour-long session.




  • Kenyan Sound Artist KMRU Charts First Explorations Outside of Homeland on New Album


    Berlin-based ambient artist KMRU has signed to Injazero Records for the release of a new album, Logue.

    Compiled of previously self-released works produced between 2017-2019, Logue charts KMRU’s path from his roots in Nairobi, Kenya to his first explorations outside of his home-city. Some of the earliest compositions on the album—2017’s “Jinja Encounters”, for example—represent KMRU’s first trips outside his homeland and the experience of new sights and new climates. The album is “intensely personal” with “powerfully intuitive expression,” we’re told, “crossing continental divides with a singular elegance.”

    KMRU, real name Joseph Kamaru, released his Peel LP with Editions Mego in the summer of 2020. He followed that up with the albums Opaquer (Dagoretti) and Jar (Seil Records) that same year. His work is uniquely positioned between the cultures of ambient and African musics, entwining his compositions with field recordings from his native Kenya and the surrounding countries.


    First Floor #82

    KMRU “Argon” (Injazero)

    KMRU “OT” (Injazero)

    KMRU “Jinja Encounters” (Injazero)


    Without question, KMRU is one of electronic music’s biggest lockdown success stories, but after hearing the Logue album, which compiles tracks he made between 2017 and 2019, it quickly becomes clear that the world should have been paying attention to this Kenyan ambient artist (who’s now based in Berlin) years ago.

    In comparison to his more recent offerings, which often deal in sparsely populated (albeit undeniably arresting) soundscapes, tracks like “Argon” and “OT” are comparatively lush, evoking a sort of cosmic sensibility with their loosely sci-fi synth melodies and cinematically expansive approach. In truth, they’re not far off from Cliff Martinez’s Solaris score (for the film’s 2002 remake) that Kevin Richard Martin mentioned in this week’s First Floor interview.

    “Jinja Encounters” takes a different approach, leaning heavily into field recordings and constructing an almost idyllic scene—complete with birdsong and the sound of a babbling brook—before the song blossoms into something more propulsive. It’s a more grounded effort overall—some of the percussion literally sounds like samples of silverware clanking against a plate—but the humility of the song’s component parts ultimately only enhance its invitingly tranquil spirit.



    KMRU “Logue”

    May 18, 2021 Brad Rose


    Across long stretches of KMRU’s brilliant Logue, electronic sounds become tangible landscapes bathed in prismatic light. Synesthesia flickers through vivid colors teeming with organic aural ecosystems as KMRU explores unexpected sonic combinations spread across nine memorable tracks. For one of the planet’s most compelling ambient musicians, Logue pushes into fresh directions as he explores new pathways to bring this intensely personal expression to life.

    I love how KMRU seamlessly weaves field recordings from Kenya and East Africa into his synthetic sound worlds. Of course these natural sounds aren’t new to ambient music, but he does it in surprising ways. With the stunning “A Meditation of Listening,” birds and insects dance with bubbling arpeggios, blurring lines between the artificial and the real. It doesn’t matter where one begins and the other ends as it’s all part of the same system. Repetitive chords outline buried memories, obscured behind painful experiences that are trying to surface. As minimal rhythms gradually roll into view, the bass gets louder, letting you know this isn’t something that can be ignored any longer. The field recordings shift, a door creaks and closes, and the tension lifts. You’ve made it through. Soft, sweet synth notes open up and let the light stream in.

    Morning approaches after a long night on “Argon.” Huge synth swells drift away, burned off like fog, so ringing sequences can rise up and give into the growing anxiety. KMRU’s music often lives on this knife edge between catharsis and paralyzation. Pieces like “11” have a lightness and freedom to them, bobbing along like clouds catching rays, where “OT” is apprehensive. The latter’s pulsing layers remind me of Ricardo Donoso’s earlier work, but the underlying strings and African street sounds add a new, unexpected layer.

    Throughout Logue, KMRU pulls the reins tight. His songs are dialed in and precise, only showing as much as necessary so the audience gets to where he wants them to go. When the kosmische-tinged arpeggios of the title track repeat into infinity, a calm control emerges. Yes, this world is full of terrible things, but small moments of levity and kindness make all the difference; a belly laugh on “OT” or the soothing water sounds of “Und” bring us back to center, ready to face down the darkness again. Logue is an incredible record from one of the best.



    Album Review: KMRU - Logue

    KMRU collating self-released tracks from 2017 to 2019 into this wonderful listen.


    Kenyan born and Berlin-based ambient artist Joseph Kamaru, aka KMRU, has released a new album Logue, collating self-released tracks from 2017 to 2019. The tracks were originally released as part of shorter projects or loose singles, but now fit into this larger project.

    Given new context, the album flows effortlessly from start to finish, showing that his tunes not only work well together even when produced without the original intent of an album, but that he is an excellent selector as well.

    “Every track reflects an event, space or location,” Kamaru writes. “The pieces are developed from field recordings, improvisation and spontaneity.”

    The ambient works collate field recordings that make it feel like you are out amongst chirping birds or a slowing field of grass. This is all done with the guiding hand of gentle analogue synthesis. Some tracks like “A Meditation Of Listening” are a little darker, while others like “Bai Field” are mellow and soft.

    It is a wonderful listen from start to finish that makes you grateful he put this together.

    i to i





    Episode 3

    KMRU - “History and Community”







    Also out this month


    We’ve heard assorted miniatures by the Nairobi-born, Berlin-based electronicist KMRU on his Bandcamp page. Logue is compilation of some standouts: the immersive bleeps of Argon; the fluttering, acoustic D’n’B of 11, the bucolic electronica of Und, the tumbling digital arpeggios of the title track. Immersive and compelling stuff.



    Albums to look out for in May





    KMRU

    Logue


    (Injazero Records)



    Due: 14th May

    It feels strange to describe an ambient musician as a ‘breakout star’, but the past 12 months have proven a quiet whirlwind for Joseph Kamaru. He continues a prolific run with Logue, which comprises works created between 2017 and 2019. Fusing analogue synthesis with field recordings, the results exemplify the tenderness and warmth that have helped KMRU generate such a dedicated following over the last year. – WP




    ACL: KMRU ~ Logue


    In the parable of the blind men and the elephant, six men feel different parts of the creature ~ tusk, trunk, tail, ear, leg, side ~ and after doing so, draw different conclusions.  In like fashion, various reviewers have categorized KMRU as being ambient, electronic, and experimental, while noting his use of field recordings. Each facet represents a different side of the artist.

    Last year, Joseph Sannicandro ran an in-depth feature on Nairobi’s Joseph Kamaru, including an enlightening interview.  2020’s Peel made both our year-end ambient list and overall chart.  The album represented what some writers called a progression from a more rhythm-based sound to a more ambient-based sound.  Logue seems to travel in the opposite direction, until one realizes that the new album is a compendium of “early” self-released work from the artist ~ the quotes used because the artist is still young, and the music was recorded from 2017-19.

    All of the aforementioned styles are represented, yet the album flows beautifully from start to finish, a function of wise sequencing ~ something hard to do when tracks were not originally recorded as part of a set.  Logue has a freshness of spirit that reflects the joy of the artist as he begins to set ideas to tape.  And now we arrive at a reviewer’s conundrum: I like KMRU’s latest album more than his last, although it was recorded earlier.  Will the artist receive this as a compliment?

    I spent eight days in Kenya in the 90s, including two in Nairobi, and was quickly adopted as a friendly mzungu.  The experience was life-changing.  During that short period, I came to realize that the people there had a lower standard of living that I, but as a whole were happier than the average people in my home country.  The difference was due to community and a sense of pulling together.  While this is an oversimplification, in the United States, people expect everything to go right all the time, so when it doesn’t, they get grumpy.  In the tiny town where I stayed, people expected things to go wrong all the time, so when they didn’t, they rejoiced.  This is the spirit of Logue.

    The album feels like the country, although it include