Saturday, September 27 2014
KiNK has become one of house music’s most in demand producers and remixers: his tracks easily stand out in any club night and they are second to none in the most competitive environment electronic music has ever seen. His abilities in finding the ‘sweet spot’ of new machines, or even of sounds considered ‘classic’ and to reshape them into totally different beasts would be wholly enough to justify the phenomenon. Yet this barely touches the surface of the story.
Arguably the world of dance music has not witnessed anyone else rising from bottom to top so clearly just by the centrifugal force of sheer talent. Being based in Sofia, Bulgaria, without a support network, a campaign or any media hype, his music alone – live and in the studio – created a momentum whose end we have yet to see.
Having met Neville Watson over the internet, he first gained recognition with the duo’s collaborative releases on Amsterdam’s Rush Hour. “Inside Out” and “Full Flight” were huge records in 2008 already, but it was an unassuming video of KiNK tweaking a drum machine at home that landed him a gig at Berlin’s ever emblematic Panorama Bar. This also hints at what set him on a trail of live sets right up to #3 on Resident Advisor’s poll in 2013 – the second consecutive year he entered the top 5. By today, he has played the world several times over.
Thus, KiNK’s live sets are the key to understanding how he creates unparalleled enthusiasm on stage and through his studio output. By now, a guy with a laptop has become the most common sight in a club. Yet the visual discrepancy between the dynamics of sound and the statics of a mouse click has driven most ambitious live acts to sideshow tricks: visuals, LED screens, compensatory dancing – smoke and mirrors. By contrast, KiNK’s live sets simply take the hood off – strictly in terms of sound. A small set up of machines and controllers, where every knob turned produces an audible result. The energy shift happening right when he enters the stage is strikingly obvious. Often he will pass a machine to the audience and incorporate their input in real time. This happens at mind-boggling speed – hyperactive, yet holding down grooves to kill for. KiNK’s ability to nail smash beats on the fly, well visibly and audibly, that most people couldn’t program in weeks of studio work – this ‘credibility of sound’ right where it matters is what sparks the love everywhere he visits.