Review: KaraKara – Bully Mixtape

Kieran Dold hasn’t been doing his homework. Like the smarter kids of the world he’s been too busy straying outside the lines of formality, absorbing influences and techniques from genres of varying obscureness and style. At least, that’s the impression left by his recent full length release Bully. Kieran, AKA KaraKara, is a Dublin based producer dabbling in the eccentric world of beat music, a genre difficult to pin down by its very nature, yet one with huge potential and a seemingly horizon-less future. Beat producers are a common breed of musicians, usually driven by a knack for button pushing and eclectic music collection. However with the recent surge in attention surrounding glitch orientated sub-genres, it is now a music scene which sounds over-saturated by “Supreme-Core” Hip-Hop enthusiasts and artists attracted to the social boost which comes with making popular, alternative music.

The opener fades Chiptune into a mash of wind instruments and up-beat melodic sounds and percussion, before layering more computer game style synthesizers over the top to continue a rise and fall which stays a consistent hallmark throughout the 16 tracks. The Mixtape never breaks down into over layered noise (aside from an overambitious Michael Jackson remix, which is interesting nonetheless), this should be marked down to Kieran’s skill in front of his chosen instruments, and a selective and effective ear for what sounds good and what should be left well alone. The vocal samples, which range from wailing female singers to grimy verses from Hip-Hop tracks, interfere wonderfully with the glitch drenched drum sequences and swelling orchestral strings throughout. Think Flying Lotus befriending EL-P and collaborating on a nervous, paranoid sounding album fifty years in the future. The mix of warm, encompassing bass allows his favouring of Chiptune become more apart of his music, without making it sound cheap or gimmicky. Whether a conscious effort or luck, it’s a clever tweak which balances out an already hectic concept of a Mixtape.

It’s an ambitious release, one which shadows his previous releases somewhat and sets a benchmark for his music, one which I’m very excited to see him raise even further. A feat I think is more than possible, considering the decline in quality past track 11 (Cocaine Was Different in the 80s). Download the Mixtape for a price you feel fair, over at his Bandcamp. You won’t be disappointed.

Words: Charlie George Wood