Under Review


Houti Kush

(1080p); 21/07/2015

Electronic music is exceptionally difficult for an artist to revolutionize. Vast resources made available by computer software have made it difficult for electronic artists to stand out amidst similar-minded musicians. The task to create original music is even more difficult when an artist’s sub genre is defined by terms like ambient, experimental, or house. However, it is a lot easier to make BAD electronic music, and Houti Kush marks a clear distinction between itself and the ocean of mixes on the internet.

Montréal native and Vancouver transfer, Phoebé Guillemot, or Ramzi, seems determined to explore the capability for unlikely sounds to layer into dynamic music. As experimentation, Houti Kush has a uniqueness exemplified by its ever changing tone. At times Houti Kush is upbeat house, other times transforming into background ambiance. Slipping by serenely, Houti Kush seems to slow down and speed up through different tracks. This time distorting effect heightens the psychedelic escape of the album, which is further highlighted by the album’s artwork designed by Ramzi herself.

Like the bizarre cover art, the title Houti Kush reveals Ramzi’s own vision of the album’s otherworldly presence. Not only an attempt at recreating East Asian ambiance, the album’s name suggests a view on the physical realm containing Ramzi’s music. Further evidence for Ramzi’s intention to create a sci-fi soundscape is found in her song titles: “land of kush,” “houti kindom” and “ramzi prophecy” iterate Ramzi’s intention to create a unique terrain.

It is difficult to single out the best tracks as most flow slowly into one another. However, certain tracks are more stimulating. “ramzi prophecy” opens the album with distorted vocal samples and hypnotic melodies that set the album’s tone. “Tcha-moun” is incredibly vibrant, disrupting the album’s generally tranquil melodies. “houti kindom” bookends the album with pastoral beats, while “land of kush” is surely the album’s best track with the album’s darkest tone. With gradual build up “land of kush” produces an eventual dance beat that feels indescribable even among the rest of the album.

Houti Kush is by no means conventional. Like the smoky basement conjured by its elaborate soundscape, Kush would most likely be either loathed or adored depending on the listener’s disposition and interest in experimental, electronic subgenres. Despite this fact, Ramzi has produced an undeniably interesting sound that would provide a unique experience to any listener.