We first wrote about Kinesthetiac in April of 2012 when he released his record Fields of Thought a few months prior (review). It was a stunning collection of Electronic tracks by a young fourteen year old Indiana native named Jared VanMarte. In fact, as an artist, I decided to incorporate one of the songs from the record “Transends” into my live shows (read more) and even edited together a video for the song (YouTube).
As a follow up to this well crafted release, we received a four track EP Cout Miny Candy and now, at fifteen and in the same year as the aforementioned releases, we have a second full length album, this one titled Is It A Kind Of A Dream.
From the start of the record, it’s smart nostalgia trickles in on “Peripheral (Introduction)” with manipulated audio snippets seemingly taken from the snapshots within his own life. “Hello, Jared. Happy Birthday” repeats one individual twice amongst a pad with a slightly delayed attack in its envelope. It’s main melody swells through its stereo width before extremely live sounding percussion samples create their climax. At just under a minute, the introductory track creates the tone of the album quite elegantly.
Is It A Kind Of A Dream segues into the album’s second track “Gateway,” through the laugh of children, before various reverberated and programmed synthesized pads make their way into the main mix. What makes this track one of the standout moments of the entire record is the stutter effect created through the song’s entirety. It never lets up, weaving in and out of the mix quickly, giving way toward a sort of futuristic style that recalls Electronica at its finest. Various panned elements help guide “Gateway” through what feels like a tunnel vision through a Ghostly International fans haven, particularly a breakdown which comes midway through the song, that contains a realm of space perfected by Tycho, amongst other Electronic contemporaries. A synth bass and subtle bass drop also appear through this track quite frequently, smoothing over a bottom end for the mid-kick, hi-hat, and snare to thrive with. Overall, it’s melodic perfection and a force to be reckon with in Kinesthetiac’s furiously growing discography.
“Bless to Go” contains subtle, coy hip-hop influences with a signature “yo” on the 2 & 4 while a later song entitled “Cling” throws itself into an ambient, piano based melody that recalled VanMarte’s previous full release. The majority of the tracks on this follow up are shorter songs, but lovely vignettes at that.
Throughout this release, there’s a collection of short tracks called “Memory Stimulation” that take themselves through experimental elements and unconventional placement of sounds and soundscapes. Nirvana’s “Something In The Way” makes their way into the first part of the trilogy, while jazz music works its way in and out the second, leaving the third and final aspect of these related tracks being a more straightforward ambient approach , leading into a more stripped down, minimal electro-pop inspired track called “26.”
“Not Feeling Like You Used To” contains various panned vocal elements that are the closest this record comes to a Boards of Canada feel, but it’s rhythmic melody that is panned to the left channel of the mix gives the song interesting throwback appeal, and once it all comes together, you feel the build up of the track. Build ups and breakdowns also seem to be an ongoing theme through this dreamscape of a record. It’s nice to hear the prog element coming out a bit more through these collections of tracks. While the songs are short, they do seem to all evolve quite a bit!
It Is A Kind Of A Dream ravishes through a brighter mixing technique than what we’re compared to hearing from the EDM community as of lately. In a world where low frequency bass and kick drum mixing and mastering seem to take over the full frequency range in a lot of mainstream releases in the passed few years, Kinesthetiac maintains a balance of being progressively melodic, without relying too much on simple four to the floor rhythmic patterns to fall back on. It’s a bit hard to understand, sonically, at first, but is more intelligent after a few listens in regards to what is being accomplished in the technical terms of the record.
“Arrows (Ending)” contains no percussion. It’s fragile, almost broken and contains elements of heartbreak. The end fade is reminiscent on something you’d hear on Moby’s Hotel Ambient record, though refreshing and unpredictable. Emotion pours throughout it, but still comes across as letting the listener wander if this is reality or if this is all a kind of a dream..
Three releases in under a year is a feat in of itself, but to keep releasing gold? Kinesthetiac is one strong, driven force and one to keep looking out for.
Album Rating: 3/5