As a collaborator with Skinny Puppy's Cevin Key, Phil Western's work in Download and PlatEAU have at times overshadowed his solo career. Caught between two worlds, Western has been successful in creating raw, machine-driven electronic music informed by his work with Key, but at the expense of wider acceptance in the electronic community.
Compiling a number of tracks recorded in 2008 under his Kone alias and a few of his other solo tracks, Laborandum seems like an obvious introduction into the veteran Vancouver based producer's work. His personality may be slightly obscured by the machines, but that's not a bad thing. Western taps into an analogue-driven sound from his ever changing studio, assembling old drum machine thumps, 303 futurism, stripped back melodies and synthetic bass lines that are indebted to techno's nocturnal pulse without sacrificing his understanding of more rugged, industrial sounds.
Laborandum may not break Western totally out of the box that he has been put in, but it will make those who may have passed over his work take notice. Winnipeggers can see for themselves when he performs at the Cube on June 22 as part of the Manitoba Electronic Music Exhibition. 'Ö'Ö'Ö1/2
-- Anthony Augustine