Kurt Baggaley made a grown man swoon with his 2013 EP Line of Sight on the Mancunian Stem label. It toyed with a sterile, dystopian themes better than any producer other than Drexciya, and I think that’s only a mild exaggeration. I seriously wake up hearing that six note tone that sounds like just the kind of thing the BBC of a technofascist state would use to brand their daily MinitruthTV report of ever increasing crop yields and devotionals to the Leader. (With the usual aside of how familiar that is now…)
That was then, and this is now. Baggaley has continued to release outrageously great EPs under both his own name and the “Scape One” moniker he’s used for several years. Look so Fragile (as Kurt Baggaley) and The Sleep of Reason (as Scape One) just arrived.
Look so Fragile is a minimal masterpiece: this man has an incredible gift for understatement and restraint, and the subtle brutalism of “Line of Sight” is replaced here by tones that almost lull you with hypnotic repetition before taking flight. “Connexus” and “Merum” continue in this hermetically personalized style, sharing a sonic palette and something of an aesthetic outlook if not a common arrangement or BPM or anything else we usually use to link together like things. “Return my Smile” is built around a euphoric bubble pop of a sound, like a pinball bonus or a slot machine jackpot translated through machine language.
These are tracks that will elevate, purify and inspire, while giving producers plenty to do in pulling them apart to find out just how Baggaley makes so much out of so little.
Originally published first in 5 Magazine Issue 139, featuring Jerome Baker, Hanna Hais, David Mancuso, Surface and Karen Copeland & more. Become a member of 5 Magazine for First & Full Access to Real House Music.