Markus Kienzl - Product
Product is Markus Keinzl's debut solo album. If his band, Sofa Surfers, is described in the PR material as an "electronic dub collective", that is also a fair indication of what can be found here.
Opener Battery combines heavy bass, ominous lyrics about "the abyss", and moody delivery from rapper Oddatee. This nicely segues into The Hood, which picks up the pace, adding an extra layer of urgent, menacing noise. Taken together, these tracks are reminiscent of Mezzanine-era Massive Attack in their visceral mix of electronic and seemingly "live" sound.
Without losing any intensity, Dundy Lion comes close to booty-shaking ragga, while Send Some Love has perhaps the most dubby production on the record, echoing vocals carrying a somewhat cliched (if still required) anti-violence message.
Like A Ghost and Spanish Town provide a couple of mellow moments. On the former, soothing keyboard tones and downbeat, female vocals are laid over the (still heavy) bass to approximate Teardrop's little brother. The latter drops the menace completely, in favour of acoustic guitar, vague jazz leanings and "positive", stream of conscience lyrics.
Another pair of seguing tracks, Lost and Found, close the album. Their creepy, abstract clatter reminds one (somewhat bizarrely) of the soundtrack to The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.
Four years in the making, and running at a relatively short thirty-eight minutes, Product is, as one might hope, an exceptionally tight record. It may not be revolutionary, but this dark melting pot should at least be of interest to fans of Massive Attack and Roots Manuva. Kienzl deserves to be a bigger name on this evidence.