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Phantom Limb

Kevin Richard Martin (KRM) & KMRU - Disconnect

Kevin Richard Martin (KRM) & KMRU - Disconnect

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Preorder due for release 5th July

Twin heavyweights Kevin Richard Martin (The Bug) and Joseph Kamaru (KMRU) unite for Disconnect, a powerful study of dread, hope, and profound sonics that marries depth-trawling dub with Kamaru’s voice, ambient sensibilities, and negative space. 

Kevin Martin first became aware of Kenyan ambient musician KMRU “watching the short 2020 documentary Under The Bridge,” he tells us. “Which, aside from immediately finding Joseph's approach to sound and music so instantly impressive, I also found his spoken voice possessed a captivating, lilting, tonal quality, with his soft-spoken accent.” Following this, Martin dug into Kamaru’s records, and found not only a kindred spirit in skilful exploration of sonic space, but also a fan of The Bug. So began a mutually respectful relationship, initially held in Instagram DMs and reciprocal admiration for each other’s work and eventually blossoming into an invitation sent by Kevin to Joseph to collaborate on a new album.

The results - debut collaboration album Disconnect - collect a back-and-forth creative dialogue that started life in Martin’s studio. “I think I surprised Joseph by suggesting he contributes vocals,” Martin tells us. This ability to identify, isolate and exploit the nonstandard is a trait shared by both musicians and employed to devastating effect on Disconnect. Its vocals, sitting somewhere between intonation and spoken word, capture the ear and fizz with simmering power. They are indeed a surprise, coming from a musician specialising in instrumental, field recording-laced ambient musics, but tell intensely evocative stories, weaving poetry into the pair’s grandiose greyscale musical architecture.

The record opens with “Differences”, setting out key themes, motifs, and soundworlds with reverberous and shivering potency. Depthcharge bass hits punctuate the space as Kamaru’s voice textures the tapestry. It is just as deep, intense, and arresting as we can expect from Kevin Richard Martin, following his acclaimed rescore of Solaris (released in 2021 on Phantom Limb) and a handful of self-released solo albums that explore a sound just as heavy as The Bug but at a menacingly slower pace. And it is just as evocative and unique as Kamaru’s KMRU canon, each object delicately and purposefully placed so the timbral mosaic builds with shimmering and hypnotic beauty. 

Key track “Differ” (the project is built from three core ‘moments’, pushed and pulled into divergent reconstructions to make up the wider body of work) hits like the shattering of galaxy-sized panes of glass. Shards tumble and collide, spinning off into itinerant orbits across an immeasurable void. Again, Kamaru’s voice makes up part of a larger whole, found here in snippets and artefacts rather than leadlines. It is a chill-inducing experience, a succinct picture of Martin and Kamaru - two immensely talented solo musicians - together opening up an irresistible beyond.

Disconnect is the first collaboration record by Joseph Kamaru and Kevin Richard Martin, released on Phantom Limb. It will be followed by an EP titled Otherness, created in the same sessions and exploring the same themes. 

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