6 albums into his drum & bass career and Tom Withers still manages to perplex and fascinate. Part revered scene elder, part teenage anarchist skateboard underfoot and a middle finger raised in the face of conformity.
Klute, as he is more widely known is responsible for some of the finest electronic music of the last 3 decades and whether by choice or default was one of the front runners in the techno inspired jungle renaissance of recent times.
Unsurprisingly, Klute has enjoyed releases on many of the most respected labels in the business and is a regular feature in the sets of Marcus Intalex Goldie and more. Shortly after the turn of the century Klute set up Commercial Suicide, his own label and artistic home ever since.
Musically and ethically confrontational, Commercial Suicide has played host to some of the scenes most forward thinking producers including Amit and Dom & Roland and in many ways sums up the Klute persona as well as his musical manifesto.
With each passing release Klute has refined his technique or reinvented it entirely all the while garnering increasing praise from ravers and critics alike with records like ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’ and ‘No Ones listening Anymore’ being hailed as modern classics.
This week Klute will unleash his sixth full studio album ‘Music for Prophet’ which has been on repeat ever since dropping into the Example inbox! The records opener ‘Knowing How To Get There’ starts quietly, building up slowly and drawing you in. Before long you’re enveloped in swathes of lush pads, whispering synths drift into your consciousness before warm throbbing subs and a Detroit flavoured break whisk you away.
Now and for the next hour you’re in Klutes world. Eerie soundscapes, shifting melodies and b-lines; this is Klute doing what he does best. Music for prophet resonates with romanticism unattainable in all but the greatest old movies. It’s passionate and emotive, hinting at the nostalgia of bygone years. Memories of warm summer nights dance through your thoughts to the tune of an artist at the top of his game.
Don’t be fooled into thinking Klute is softening with maturity though, there is a toughness to these tracks. Each drum hit strikes with intent, placed to cause maximum effect. As the album journeys through playful liquid, epic jungle workouts and techy rollers, there’s much to keep the dance energetic here but never at the cost of the music.
In a time where less seems to be more there’s definitely no shortage of ideas on ‘Music for Prophet’. Personal highlights include the funk laden ‘Will You Still Love Me’, futuristic raver ‘Black Pony’ the universally lauded ‘Ashram’ and the savage Dom & Roland collab ‘Buy More Now’.
Clearly not one to take the easy route route, Klute once again serves up a double album with a second disk devoted to his techno and electronica explorations. Authority Belief is a retro futuristic soundtrack that veers effortlessly between euphoria and claustophic paranoia. Tracks to look out for are ‘Because You Can’ and the frankly terrifying ‘Son Of Sam’.
Example mag was lucky enough to catch up with Klute in advance of this latest LP offering to find out a little more of what makes him tick
EXAMPLE: ‘Music for prophet’: nerdy synth reference or album concept?
KLUTE : Profit. Did you see what I did there?
EXAMPLE: ‘Music for prophet’ is your 6th full LP: how did you find making this album and has your process changed much?
KLUTE: The lease ran out on my paradise studio on Fantasy Island near Nassau, so this time I was limited to a string of shitty rooms in north London. It was miserable and desperate but I rose above and made what some people could call, the ‘Sgt. Pepper’s…’ of 2010
EXAMPLE: What has the biggest impact on the music you make?
KLUTE: Knowing that I am a very sexy man
EXAMPLE: What was the last record to totally blow your mind? (any genre)
KLUTE: I’ve been going back on a lot of Smashing Pumpkins stuff and I’m finding a lot of their stuff is really amazing. At the time I was too busy with jungle / d&b
EXAMPLE: What was the first record to totally blow your mind? (any genre)
KLUTE: It would have been ‘Twist and Shout’ by the Beatles
EXAMPLE: If you hadn’t made it in music where would you be?
KLUTE: I would be in a home for retards
EXAMPLE: I read that your punk band ‘The Stupids’ are back together, why now?
KLUTE: Cos we couldn’t be bothered to think of a new name and we wanted to play. Our goal this time was to release a new album, which we did and it’s fucking superb.
EXAMPLE: How on earth do you find the time to concentrate on running Commercial Suicide plus writing and touring as Klute & Tommy Stupid?
KLUTE: It’s been quite a chore, but somehow I did it. It’s been great fun and terribly fulfilling. Spiritually
EXAMPLE: What’s on the horizon for Commercial Suicide in the coming months?
KLUTE: More records, more T shirts
EXAMPLE: It’s always a topic of conversation but given your involvement in dnb, would you care to offer your own ‘prophecy’ as to where you think it’s headed right now
KLUTE: I would like to see more music instead of this so called "space" people think they’re championing. Also, I hope people stop freaking out about loudness and production
EXAMPLE: Any closing words?