Kelpe

When Kel McKeown (AKA Kelpe) was a young teenager, he decided that sampling and sequencing might provide him with a safer past time than bone splintering skateboarding mishaps. He got set up with a Commodore Amiga, sampler and tape player and recorded some primitive rave tracks and juvenile instrumental hip hop. Mostly, these initial recordings are lost, but the workings provided him with a discipline and focus that is of fundamental importance to the creative process that he currently employs in the execution of his distinctive beat creations.

Kelpe’s influences range from the bleeps & beats of Dabrye, Prefuse and classic Warp artists to the funk of Sly Stone, and the minimalism of Steve Reich + Harmonia to the percussive space-scapes of Tortoise + Do Make Say Think. The diversity of the music that inspires Kelpe finds reflection in his own sonic adventures, informing his ever evolving sound, combining as map and compass to guide his lunar-bound b-boy throw downs.

Coming to the attention of DC Recordings in early 2003, his first release for label was the 12″ EP ‘The People are Trying to Sleep’, a wide eyed carnival of fractured hip hop beats and warped electronics. This was followed by the critically acclaimed album ‘Sea Inside Body’ (September 2004), an album described by The Wire as “One of the most engrossing listens in recent electronic music”. Kelpe continued on DC Recordings with second LP ‘Ex-Aquarium’ (2008) and third ‘Cambio Wechsel’ (2009) as well as several EPs on the label and an official mix CD “Death Before Distemper 4 - Mixed by Kelpe”.

Since 2009, Kelpe has branched out from the extinct DC Recordings and released with various cult electronic labels. In Autumn 2010 he released 2 EPs: ‘Margins’ on Black Acre and ‘Chocolate Money’ on Fremdtunes. Both releases enjoyed frequent plays on BBC Radio 1 + BBC 6Music (a Kelpe mix for the Tom Ravenscroft show also followed) and the Margins EP secured a place in Bleep.com’s top 10 EPs of 2010. Then, in 2011 came 7” single ‘Same New Era’ on Coco Bryce’s MYOR imprint and in 2012 two sell out EPs on Svetlana Industries ‘I Felt Fuzzy’ and 'Bags of Time'.

Making a name for himself across and beyond Europe for solo live sets and as a duo with long time collaborator Chris Walmsley (Gruff Rhys, Psapp, etc), the live show incorporates MPC style beat manipulations, miniature analogue synths and a lot of bass. With or without the addition of live acoustic drums from Chris Walmsley (AKA All Traps Set), the explosive live act has travelled far and wide, from California to Lithuania, playing alongside diverse acts such as Aphex Twin, Squarepusher and Daedelus. 

Also a keen DJ and mix tape creator, several highly regarded selections have appeared in recent years, with submissions for Ninja Tune's Solid Steel, Sonic Router and URB in 2012 alone. During his ten years of releases Kelpe has also shone as an innovative remixer, turning in reworks for Red Snapper, Holy Fuck, BNJMN, Seeland and Tropics amongst others. Over this decade celebrity fans have included Laurent Garnier, Richie Hawtin, Hudson Mohawke, James Holden and Lil B, who in 2012 sampled wholesale from Kelpe's "Growth" on "Bottom of The Crib". 

Kelpe marks year 10 in his release schedule by launching a label "DRUT" and christening it with his own all new long player 'Fourth: The Golden Eagle'.



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