Review: Conforce - Kinetic Image


Conforce a.k.a. Boris Bunnik has returned to the Amsterdam-based Delsin imprint (home of artists like Redshape and Population One) and released Kinetic Image, the much anticipated follow-up to Escapism, his last LP under the same alias.

I had the pleasure of speaking with this unassuming Dutchman from the island of Terschelling at his recent Super 0 gig in Singapore, which was probably one of the best nights I’ve had in town thus far. To soak in that kind of deep, throbbing, Traversable Wormhole-esque sound design through the big speakers, on the dance floor, was a rare occurrence on this island for sure.

But the dance floor was certainly not what Bunnik had in mind when he conceived Kinetic Image, a title that refers to the notion of making “moving images and art that evolve and unfold like passing landscapes”. Little wonder considering the fact that Bunnik is also an avid documentary photographer and audiovisual designer when he is not otherwise DJing and producing.

Here, instead of the club heavy sound that one might expect under the Conforce moniker, we are greeted with a more cohesive album designed to be listened to in one sitting: an atmospheric journey that rejects the 4/4 grid with liquid ease, opting for syncopated rhythms and a distinct aquatic vibe that runs through most of the tracks. Influences from his other aliases (Silent Harbour, Hexagon and Versalife), particularly towards the deep, dubby and ambient end, are also apparent.

A full studio production and a labour of love, the album was borne out of Bunnik’s tireless experiments with synths/machines and audio tools, in order to create different rhythms and sequences that spoke to him. ‘Excess Mortality’ makes a fitting entrance for an album, a dark opener with a heavy bass before the moody synths and bubbling clicks take over.

‘Scientific Trajectory’ is probably my favourite, the sci-fi shrillness of it counterbalancing the deep, bubbling darkness perfectly.

‘Formerly Programmed Decisions’ sounds like something out of a TV thriller, full of high tension, and the rhythm programming is just gob-smackingly excellent on the headphones with this one.

It is said that Waddenislanders are known for their resourcefulness in using anything and everything that washes ashore. Bunnik is proof of that same resourcefulness and imagination, delivering an album that is abstract yet alchemistic; light and subtle, yet deep and intricately put together all at the same time. And if the nuances don’t grab your attention right away, they will at least grow on you in electronic bits and crackles.

01. Excess Mortality
02. Spatiotemporal
03. Temporary Reversals
04. Semantic Field
05. Scientific Trajectory
06. Underwater Settlers
07. Formerly Programmed Decisions
08. Abundance Of Selves
09. Optimum Pace
10. Anti-adaptive State