Published Sep 23, 2020Anyone who's familiar with the work of Edmonton producer Khotin will know that he wields the subtle art of nostalgia with the deftest hand around. All of his releases ooze with a rich dose of sentimentality that never tumbles into mawkishness. It's a tough skill to master, but Khotin has nailed it, and it's this tricky skillset that he brings to new album Finds You Well.
In order to talk about Khotin's latest, we're going to have to do something trite, something that's all too prevalent in music journalism: we have to compare it to Boards of Canada. The sonic similarities, at points, are just too striking to ignore. It's impossible to hear Finds You Well tracks like "Ivory Tower" and "Groove 32" without BoC immediately springing to mind. After the Scottish duo released Music Has the Right to Children in 1998, scores of producers (possibly BoC included) have tried to capture that sound but never quite managed. Khotin has, and he does it his own way.
Where BoC have vocal samples of scientific narrators or people blankly blurting out random numbers, Khotin has benign, and sometimes sweet, answering machine messages strewn throughout the album. This means, as always, Khotin offers a certain warmth — something that's often lacking with this particular style. We're done with the BoC correlations, but it has to be said that Finds You Well just might be the best downtempo ambient record since Music Has the Right.
While the first half of the album does feature those quasi-industrial, homesick beats that we love so much, the second half (or so) takes a more shapeless approach. It slows down significantly, taking you along some ambient paths to round out the record. This is not to say that it fizzles, however; more like it gently evaporates into a balmy cloud, ready to wash down on you all over again, once you re-press that play button (which you will).
We hope this album finds you well, quietly knowing that you'll find it very well indeed. (Ghostly International)