Iceland’s Kári Guðmundsson (a.k.a. Hypno) isn't likely to be branded as prolific. Since first emerging in 2009, he has had precious few releases, all separated by extended stints of relative silence. Not many producers stand in such stark contrast to the prevalent mixtape/marketing machinery, where the process of refinement and careful curation has been set aside to make room for a firehose of constant output. In the case of Hypno, this ability to self-edit drives philosophically into his production, which enjoys attentive craftsmanship and is plainly the product of a deliberate mind. On "Kancourde" b/w "K2," his patience has paid off.
We actually first heard "Kancourde" back in October 2010, when Hyetal included it in his XLR8R Podcast. The drum programming and aural space of the track are so exacting that it's not hard to envision Hypno spending the subsequent months (and years) poring over minutiae, readying the track for release. At first reminiscent of Untold's "Anaconda," staccato clips of twisted percussion insinuate a pointed minimalism. As Hypno's rhythmic play builds, that minimalism gives way to a stripped-down groove, one that's heavy on the low end with rolling sub bass underlying the atonal harmony of resonant percussion and (what seems to be) a bird call. At the halfway point, a wash of pads sneaks into the mix; a chord structure settles in and a latent melody emerges from the extant parts. This unusual pacing gives the feeling of a new track being mixed in, but as the strands couple towards a climax, a seamlessness returns with newfound drive.
"K2" is the spiritual sibling of "Kancourde," employing a similar tonality and sound palette (including—could it be—the same bird call?). However, where "Kancourde" favors space and atonality, "K2" comes pushing to the front with a more predictable polyrhythm and structure. The track builds its percussive backbone in layers before a square-edged melody filters in slowly—one moment brightly in front of the mix, the next sublimating into the ether. Dropping the pace to a half-time feel, the bassline takes center stage with a slipping, accented cadence. The crowning moment comes when "K2" drops down to nothing but a kick offset by the clang of a distant bell; a pair of sine waves edge to the foreground then warble and detune, their increasing unease thrusting right back to the tribal pulse it emerged from.
On the surface, these tunes might seem like a couple of mid-set rollers, but categorizing them as such would be a mistake. Intricate, subtle detailing gives "Kancourde" b/w "K2" a virility that is as intuited as it is intended. This is a fine offering from a talented producer who looks before he leaps. Let's just hope that Hypno's next leap comes before the next leap year.