Kenneth Graham emerges from the endless stretches of Los Angeles with a
sound vision. Like others of his creed, KG's cynicism about the state of
underground scene, or lack thereof, manifests itself in a creative flow.
The transcendental core of his approach frees him of the aesthetic
constraints that limit most and propels him across the frontiers of
experimental electronic music, establishing a diversity of range rarely
found in the industry. A personal ideal is thus reflected in his sound.
The inspiration, the objective, the result aspires towards the eternal.
The response from listeners and critics alike has been and continues to
be positive. Acknowledgement of his contribution as a producer as well as
a performer to underground music is at its height and continues to grow.
Hence live eprformances and DJ appearances are on the agenda. At present
KG is producing one acetate per week, busy working on a mixed CD of his
best work and collaborating on a hip-hop/trip-hop project.
Recent releases include SUNKISS (Plastic City), SUNCHILDREN PROJECT
(Peace Frog, UK), both collaborations with David Alvarado, Midnight
Sessions (Aqua Boogie) and Passive Aggression (Organised Noise #6). Of
the numerous live performances and DJ appearances KG lays claim to, the
most noteworthy include Deeper Design (with Woody McBride, LA, 24 April
'98), Monolith (Santa Anita, Mexico March '98), Atomic (live to radio in
Gaudalajara, Mexico, November '97), Clutch (with Boo Williams and Glen
Underground, LA, November '97) and Computer Controlled (with Frankie
Bones, LA, September '97).
As a producer he is primarily driven by a desire to create timeless
tracks and doesn't concern himself with chasing trends. "A producer must
be aware of certain trends but i don't believe marketing belongs in a
studio, that's the job of an agent after the fact." The personal struggle
not to give in to poplar demands is always difficult but it does not
necessarily mean that a popular sound will be shunned just because it is
so. The tech-house sound has been adopted by KG but for intelligent, not
Attempts to impose rigid classifications on his work also seem to
disturb KG. He perceives a strict categorical breakdown of the movement
as digressive, as missing the point really. "Unfortunately for marketing
purposes I'm forced to settle with catch-alls like 'techno' and
'tech-house'. I feel the connotations these terms carry impose too narrow
of a definition on my music. In actuality I incorporate a variety of
influences and sounds into my tracks, a process which I feel makes the
product more complex than these terms imply." Advances in technology, new
gear and the exploration of new capabilities, on the other hand, he sites
as sources of inspiration. A constant turning over of equipment has thus
been the modus operandi throughout the years.
His interest in electronic music dates back to some time in 1985 but his
introduction to music goes beyond that, giving him a consummate musical
background. As might be expected, a traditional music education was
initially rejected and instead he opted for the self-taught route. From
piano lessons he went to playing guitar in a punk band, then to buying his
KG's musical ambitions are however assited by a formal education in
electronics engineerin. Working with what he has at any given point in
time, he won't hesitate to modify gear to acheive a desired result. For
KG it isn't necessarily about having the latest, most advanced pieces of
equipment available en masse. To the contrary he's often found his most
inspired work has been done with less. Older analog synthesizers are
often key components in his compositions. Additionally, his first
nationally distributed record, KG Beat (Breathing Engine EP, 1994), which
also happens to be one of his best selling releases, was recorded with an
Emulator III straight to DAT.
KG's expansive creative course not only enhanced his musical
innovations, it also launched him into the realm of multimedia. His
brainchild Controlteam Music and Media, was among the first to provide
live mixshows to a worldwide audience via the Internet. The development
of the Controlteam Website, and subsequently the live Internet mixshow
(Terraforms, www.controlteam.com/terra.html, Tuesdays 7PM to Midnight PST)
where you can catch KG on a regular basis, are just some of the ways he
strives to promote underground electronic music.
"We launched Terraforms because we felt music was being compromised,
that it was giving in to mainstream pressures. Many in the industry don't
seem to realize the impact that their actions have on a collective level.
They should put more thought into defining their message and not simply
buy into the latest trends. It's impossible to transcend, to progress,
when you take that approach."
As a producer as well as a performer Kenneth Graham embodies this
attitude with a dynamic and largely unconventional style. The diversity
of his sound- from ambient to tech-house, from trip-hop to techno- is
simply a reflection of this same aesthetic integrity. Transcendentalism,
integration and experimentation are the themese behind his method. The
result is pleasingly unpredictable.