After reading about the concept behind the debut LP Reframing by Slovenian band Kontradikshn, the prospect of listening to the project in full was an exciting one – fortunately the results do not disappoint.
Reframing is a way of viewing and experiencing events, ideas, concepts and emotions to find more positive alternatives.
The immediate ambiance set by opening track Euphoria is one that instrumentally shakes you to your very bones, and yet lyrically – it opens your mind to a certain juxtaposed, deeply reflective sort of beauty. There’s a brutally addictive heaviness to the band’s music that is tinged with hints of Nine Inch Nails and even a little more of the heavier side of things, but the creative musicality is something completely fresh – the riffs and the thickness of that drum beat, fused with Petar Stojanović’s leading vocal, makes for a superbly atmospheric and even quite melodic presentation of electronic rock.
Moving on into Neverland, the electronic side of the sound steps forward even further into the spotlight – and this one is a real moment of clarity. This track seems to shine a light directly on the band as songwriters and artists, and it’s a brilliantly crafted piece of music that leaves just enough space around that beautifully crisp and stylish leading vocal to really appreciate the passion and the lyricism. The heaviness falls away for this piece, and you really get soaked up by the melody line that hits just after two minutes in. A definite early highlight, and a deal breaker in many ways – the rest of the album is a must once you’ve reached even just this second track. A superb piece of music, a dark and melodically dirty work of art for the sleepless weekend.
The sound that Kontradikshn put forward in their music quickly becomes clear as unique to them and their own form of art and thoughtfulness. There are so many different moments of slight influence, from the heavy metal to the trance, from the thick cut to the almost transparent, yet it all makes perfect sense within the walls of this release; the project is a consistent journey through something completely new.
It’s as exciting as was hoped for, and there are more than a few moments of complete surprise to keep you hooked. Anatomy is a perfect example – the expressive meeting of the set formula and the freely experimental. The music has been crafted with great consideration, and this is something you’ll notice more and more as the album progresses.
What’s particularly great about this album is that the underlying concept and all of it’s sub-concepts are consistently evident – the heart of the music is far more than just the performance, and this gives listeners so much more to hold on to. That being said, you can, and definitely should, listen to the music for it’s pure musicality as well. 027 is a strong sample of the insane bass-lines and beats that build up the creative backdrop to these songs intermittently throughout the Reframing process.
After twelve songs from the band, you’re likely to feel a pretty memorable connection to the music – there’s an understanding of what they create, not always of what they were specifically intending, but that wonderful way in which a stranger receives something as meaningful as this; the unique way in which it reaches out to everyone who hears it. Listen to 108 Hours to get a sense of that lyricism – this is another track that leaves you space between the heaviness to appreciate the contrast and to soak up the ideas. The sound is creatively theatrical, yet musically loaded with the skills that really bring out the emotion and the character.
Evacuation is an experience in itself – the hardcore dance sound, explicitly high levels of energy, contrasted beautifully with some real moments of pause and thought. This track gets better and better the louder you play it. As mentioned, you get moments of influence from a range of different sources, but that creative power, the instrumental freedom, and the striking sound of that leading vocal, all make for a truly unique experience. Take even just a glance at any of the ideas expressed in the songs, in Free or Reframe, for example – you’re forced to think more deeply, and the music has this hypnotic effect that leaves you floating in some unexpected cloud of thoughts.
As the album nears it’s end, Night Drive brings out the dramatic theatre of the music in full force – the experimental smashes into the rhythmic, and the whole thing has this other worldly or cult sort of atmosphere to it. You can lose yourself entirely to these songs. After After Party does everything the title implies and more – the moment is huge, you’re on your feet without even knowing it. Then #89 (The Lost Tape) somewhat gracefully takes it’s time to unravel and express the final few minutes of Reframing.
To finish listening is to be left feeling as if you’ve been on some wild and explorative weekend away. It’s not really the kind of collection you can then simply walk away from – the inclination to return and start over is strong, and that’s a superb effect to have on your listeners. Kontradikshn are exciting, fresh, true to their own ideas and style, and addictively captivating at all times.