There’s been a rash of extra-cool, electronically-infused post punk-esque artists coming seemingly from all over the globe lately, and we are YEDM are here for it. With lofi beats, an offshoot of trip hop, being so popular the last few years, it’s only stands to reason that some artists would bring in the lowest of lofi, the maudlin melodies. Post punk artists like Nick Cave or Joy Division, for those who will recall, actually depended quite heavily on synthesizers in their heyday. While we now think of more stripped back sounds, these newer artists are updating those synths for modern ears, bringing in chaos and irony in a new way. With only an EP and a single to his name thus far, German producer and vocalist K4LT may be shaping up to be one of the best of this set, as his work folds punk into post punk, lofi into industrial and classic, Moog and 808 style into the digital era.
K4LT released his first EP, the paradoxically named Endgame, in 2021. This EP showcased his skills as a master of the radio pop, a bygone sound from century-old recordings that many artists have weaponized as part of a beat or an interesting phrase transition. K4LT uses them for both, and his beats range from the afore-mentioned trip hop to trap to industrial beats. The latter, in Endgame‘s closing track “Fugae” is particularly impressive because with said industrial beat, the ancient radio pops, loads of vintage synths and some pretty heavy guitar, he still manages to keep the track decidedly lofi.
On the other end of what we now know is the lofi spectrum (K4LT having pushed that boundary for us), or seemingly so, is the Endgame‘s opening track, “Boarding Pass.” With a very basic beat and beatific vocals, upon listening to the first part of this track, the average lofi fan would think it’s standard, but then another feedback-heavy guitar comes in, this time more shoegazey and chaotic. In fact, all of the tracks on Endgame contain guitars, ranging from haunting and more junkyard country, like in “Extinction Aphelion” to positively grungy in “Loading Screen.”
From Endgame, a unique style begins to emerge from K4LT, but fans of the first EP shouldn’t expect the same in his new single, “LCPD.” Much more shoegazey in both form and function, “LCPD” has a more definitive trip hop structure to the beat with some drone play as well. Here the influence from acts like Radiohead and Gorillaz is really present, along with lofi techno vibes taken from K4LT’s hometown of Berlin. The effect is soft yet punctuated, with composition seems more intentional on this track but still with lashings of experimental sound design. Also likely the most delicate track in his visible discography, K4LT has said “LCPD” was inspired by the tension and emotions behind an “amicable” breakup. The careful yet emotional nature of this track may have been meant to reflect the difficulty that lies in such a tricky relationship maneuver, and if it was, it was very well done.
It seems the experimental mature of K4LT’s work has already led him to create diverse, multi-layered work that will resonate with post punks, the indie-loving lofi crowd, vintage synth lovers and music science buffs. That’s a pretty good cross section to tap into, and “LCPD” certainly isn’t K4LT’s final form. Whatever he has in store for his next release, fans can expect it to utilize the radio pop, his many and sundry musical skills and a good heap of emotionality.