The title of KRTS' album might be one of my favourites of this year. It completely captures the sense and feeling of these sounds and yet you don't realise it until your ears are already enclosed and trapped by KRTS' sounds. It's a sense concern and uneasiness, building to paranoia. The Dread Of An Unknown Evil. Irrational fear, in other words.
On his debut album KRTS builds soundscapes based on the artists and styles that have influenced him. This is an album that takes the R&B and contemporary soul of The Weeknd and Frank Ocean and piles on more fear and alienation. It's an album that embraces silky vocals one minute and abstract electronic soundscapes the next.
The album opens with 'Something New', a sonic security blanket to the aching vocals of guest star Jon Hairston. Finger clicks and steal drums create a a subtle yet complex background to Hairston's words. The music may shift uneasily beneath the weight of the content yet it comes up strong, an undeniably great start to any album. 'Fire' gradually beckons in the album's more instrumental moments with stark piano chords working in relay to build melodies with KRTS' synths.
It is KRTS' own mother Stevee Wellons however, appearing on 'Your Eyes', that marks out exactly how ambitious The Dread Of An Unknown Evil is. It is a dark, introspective and epic electronic ballad, both terrifying and uplifting.
The deep, dub influenced melodies of KRTS' debut album may come from the same place as Burial and and The Weeknd, but he takes the experimental production of the former and filters it through his New York palette. The result includes the more instantly emotional and obviously personal lyrics of the latter.
Regardless of the background to this album it's an achievement. For a debut album from a relatively unknown artist however it's more than that - it's staggering.