R&S is undoubtedly one of the coolest electronic music labels around these days, but we're starting to suspect that it might also be a front for some sort of (not-so) covert Fleetwood Mac fanclub. Last month saw the release of the Lostwithiel EP from UK duo The Chain (Hint #1), and now the imprint has signed young Londoner Klaus, whose debut is entitled the Tusk EP. (Hint #2) We'll admit, this whole Fleetwood Mac theory is dubious at best, but the quality of Klaus' production is not.
The four-track EP is impeccably assembled, as one gets the sensation while listening that every tiny sonic element was meticulously nestled into place. This is not club music, as Klaus' borderline-ambient creations are designed for headphones, not the dancefloor. The title track features sharp drums with a familiar stutter, albeit at a tempo that at the very least feels like its been screwed to a crawl. Combined with some bubbly bass notes and airy synth lines that morph and change with the urgency of a snail, "Tusk" is an exquisite listen. "Fens" and "Pim" actually dial things down even further, the former darting about like a Hessle Audio tune on quaaludes while the latter features only a hint of percussion beneath the gradual rise and fall of its constantly evolving ominous melodies. "Cypher" features the thickest low end on the EP, skating along the edge of DMZ-era dubstep while retaining a decidedly abstract vibe.
If the Tusk EP has a weakness, it's that the songs here do suffer from a lack of memorable songwriting. No matter how proficient Klaus may be as a producer—make no mistake, his beatmaking chops are on-point, and he's brimming with artistic potential—his tunes are so sparse and so detail-oriented that although each individual moment may be perfectly executed, the complete productions sometimes leave the impression that something is lacking. While it's unlikely that anyone is going to be upset by listening to the Tusk EP, it's also a safe bet that not many people will be clamoring for repeated spins, either.