CD, Sound On Probation, 2006
As the title implies, “Purr” is an album of pure, purring narcotics. The second release from the Zonk’t project, it simply drips with more fat cerebral sounds than that thirsty sponge sometimes called a brain can possibly soak up. Ranging from smooth, minimal dub pulses to drone-oriented, ultra-deep bass, “Purr” takes distilled techno under the microscope and well below freezing with its infinitesimal examination of slow-motion electronic minimalism. It is a work of astonishingly deep character, with an undeniable undercurrent of unease.
The bass sounds incorporated by “Purr” are pervasive and enthralling. Here the bass is a warm and fuzzy thing, growling and pulsing with contentment. Expertly massaged by tireless beeps and clicks, or held in motion by looping snaps and ticks, it is the undisputed equalizer in the Zonk’t audio arsenal. Whether sticky and meticulous or smooth and slippery, the lower frequencies are readily adaptable, making them a truly formidable weapon of mesmerization.
“Purr” is both sublime and subtle, combining majestic ethereal tones and ritual atmospheric drones with nervous squeaks and chirps, as in “Equation Part.2.” Repetition is also a key element of the album, characterized by the sliding tendrils of sound and echoing chimes that stretch toward infinity in the extensive “Equation Part.3.” Atmospheric meanderings, however, are inevitably grounded by textured patterns that flutter and twitch to form structure. The offbeat breaks and jazz percussion in “Ohm 05 Part.2” come as a bit of a surprise, yet are well integrated with the undulating dub cadence and its accompanying build, and well worth the momentary discomfiture.
Zonk’t blends abstract harmonics, clicks and bleeps, and fathomless bass on “Purr,” detaching time and space unbeknownst to the listener. These slow-motion, brilliant ketaminimal electronics are truly as disquieting as they are serene, and introduce a carefully cultivated anesthetic that deserves appreciation.
— Dutton Hauhart