After focusing on the UK-centric sounds of garage and jungle on April’s Hyperreality EP, Symbols boss Kastle has balanced dystopian and utopian world views on the Polytopia EP, a record that sees the Los Angeles veteran eschewing traditional musicality and rhythmic structures in lieu of immersive sound design and a high definition outlook. Evolution, both literal and figurative, is key to Kastle’s Polytopia, the record’s six tracks slowly revealing a widescreen world that scrambles the lines between sentient life and technology. Hydraulic pistons, computers and breaking glass are only a few of the sonic elements that make up the new EP, balanced by ear worm melodies and the R&B snippets that have drawn so many fans to Kastle’s work in the past.
And as immersive as the world of Polytopia becomes by the end of “Pattern Integrity”, the EP can’t be measured on purely conceptual levels, tracks like “Jasmine” and “Retina Restraint” functioning equally well as precision missiles for club play. And while the rhythms that drive the new work vary in tempo and makeup, from the lurching dembow of “Terraform 2029” to the pulses and skittering hi hats that frame “Jasmine”, its aesthetic, while mercurial, is firm and consistent throughout. As both the mark of a new sonic direction for Kastle and a move into an exciting conversation over the roll of technology, Polytopia is a momentous step for both artist and form, asking explicit questions about the relationship between man and machine. It’s a record for our age and one that achieves its conceptual and functional goals with aplomb.
released September 18, 2015
All songs written, produced and mastered by Kastle