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Album of the month | KAS:ST - A Magic World

Awe and wonder on Afterlife Records.

Artist: KAS:ST
Title: A Magic World
Label: Afterlife Records
Released: 11 December 2020

Sounds like: The highs and lows of a reality similar to our own, yet different


Cast your mind back a year. Our world was very different to the reality that currently lays before us.

Last December, KAS:ST made an instant impact when landing on Afterlife. They're in good company, joining the ranks of other notable duos like Mind Against, Mathame and label owners Tale Of Us.

Hold Me To The Light, the track in question, struck a chord with fans of the label and club night, compelling Tale Of Us to remix it themselves. Few higher accolades exist in these parts.

Subsequently, KAS:ST were found amongst the pack for UNITY, the label's 2020 charity compilation. Collaborating with none other than house music royalty Kerri Chandler, the duo's profile continued to rise.

Arriving almost a year after their label debut, KAS:ST now return to Afterlife with a full length album.

It would be a mistake to consider them newcomers, however. Carol and Manuel have been developing their sound on their own label, Flyance Records. Work from this era includes the first album, Road To Nowhere.

Whilst looking back through their catalogue is recommended, we're turning our focus to the present day, to 2020.

Let's open the gate to A Magic World...

A Magic World

Coming on Afterlife, there's certain things we come to expect, such as spine-tingling breakdowns, euphoric melodies and moody arpeggios. All these things are here, but thankfully, there's also a lot more to digest.

Confined to the studio during lockdown, KAS:ST have stretched that bit further outside of their comfort zone.

The new album is a much broader artistic exploration from us. It is a vehicle to showcase a blend of influences, whilst remaining true to techno.”

Setting the tone for the next 15 tracks, our intro, The Gate, comes straight from a sci-fi score, combining futurism with ecclesiastic influences - opening a metaphysical entrance to KAS:ST's world with cinematic delivery.

Next, the title track falls somewhere between Underground Resistance's Transition and Baz Luhrmann, with its motivational message: “Build a future that mother Earth and her children deserve. We are unique beings, with unique perspectives.” It's the kind of music that calls out for Adam Curtis to use in his next documentary.

Occasionally, the record takes unexpected but welcome detours that show Carol and Manuel can turn their hand to much more than techno alone.

There are moments of menace and frightful jumps that Paul Rose would be proud of.

It has been a conscious process to include elements of pop and classical influences throughout the LP. See ‘80s synth ode Siren and the melancholy Letters as two examples.

The pace is slowed right down for Never Look Away, which owes a lot to the likes of Thom Yorke and James Blake. However, it's a teasing false finish.

The magic of this imagined world is never in question, but on whether KAS:ST project a vision of utopia or dystopia? The verdict is still out.

The album arriving in the midst of a Covid-ravished Earth perhaps amplifies the moments of anguish and confusion. But hope springs eternal, and listeners are left to make up their own mind.

What is undisputed, is that masterful KAS:ST production talent gives flight to the imagination. This album sits shoulder to shoulder with earlier entries from Adriatique and Woo York in Afterlife's hall of fame.

Highlights: VTOPIA, Our Last Dance, Earth On Hell, Outomorrow

A Magic World is out now and available to stream and purchase at all the usual places.

To discover more music the Ibiza Spotlight team are enjoying right now, head over to our Spotify profile and click subscribe!

IMAGE | by Henri Coutant

Other huge albums released this month:

Anabel Englund | Messing With Magic | Ultra Music | 11 Dec
Powel | The Beauty Of A Polaroid | All Day I Dream | 21 Dec
Four Tet | 871 | Text | 25 Dec
Four Tet | Parallel | Text | 25 Dec

No line-ups yet of course for Afterlife's 2021 campaign, but we very much hope that KAS:ST are a part of the roster. An Ibiza debut beckons. Better still, a live set performing all the music from A Magic World would go down a storm.

Tickets for all 15 Afterlife parties at Hï Ibiza are on sale now. You can buy with us in confidence that your purchases are fully protected against all eventualities.

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