CD, Afe Records/Grey Sparkle/Ctrl+Alt+Canc Records/Nighthawks Tapes, 2009
Meerkat is an Italian collective of ten experimental sound artists. After creating two albums which dealt with the concepts ‘clouds’ and ‘desert’, they continue the series with “Kapnos”, the greek word for ‘smoke’.
The album consists of seven ambient pieces most of which clock in well over six minutes and even then the tracks blend into each other seamlessly. Despite the fact that such a large variety of artists worked on the album there is a really amazing flow, probably because of the frequent use of field recordings and drones. While listening to the tracks my mind gently wanders off to the early days of electronic music. Found sounds recorded on quarter inch tape, meticulously edited and processed forming a soundscape that refers to both the familiar and the abstract. The recordings have a beautiful clarity and sonic detail which helps to suck the listener into an alternate world of late night campfires with crispy flames and developing smoke.
A recording of kitchen sounds and a gas stove sets the first track in motion. Soon more synthetic ambiences join in to create a dreamy atmosphere combined with boiling fluids. All of the sounds are mixed really well with an amazing feel for stereo positioning and depth. The ebb and flow of the soundscapes work quite well and before I realize it I’m already halfway through the album. A great variety of sounds enter and leave without abandoning the mood and tone the opening track introduced.
With “Kapnos”, Meerkat have produced a really high quality ambient album that keeps growing on repeated listens.
— Tijs Ham