A delayed release date is always a painful thing to withstand, especially when Kauf’s body of work to date has been of such an impeccably high calibre. Now his debut LP has dropped, Regrowth has proven more than worth the added waiting time.
Released, October 13th 2017, One Half Records.
For those who joined the journey with Kauf, real name Ronald Kaufman, in 2016 when Velvet shared his track, A Ruin, the wait for Regrowth has been a mere moment in comparison to how long the LA native has spent mastering this LP. Journeying back to 2011 would reveal not only Kauf’s first self-released single Relocate, but the tumultuous journey that Regrowth has been for Kauf.
Behind his love of smooth electro, Kauf’s narrative lies deep in a bed of denial and doubt, loitered with past relationships and the events over the past 6 years that have faced Kaufman along the way. However, rather than taking these hardships and creating something completely reliant on the self-inflicted loathing of self-reflection that remains lost in a swamp of nauseating whining, Kaufman gracefully questions his life in a manner that is ready to begin an explorative conversation, rather than focusing on any sort of bereavement.
Regrowth’s opener Pacify, begins this open-minded conversation, starting the LP with the question of closeness and how connected any one person can really allow themselves to be. Kauf’s struggle with both accepting help as well as “giving a hand” is the primary example of how Regrowth has captured the changing tide of what has been the last 6 years for the LA producer. Waves of submissive electronica gently ride over one another gathering strength, while amassing enough intensity to spiral into heavy beat techno, before crashing down into the blissful realm of Kauf’s spacially aware electronica.
The entire album as a whole can be prescribed to this idea of spacially aware electronica; synths and guitars all completely aware of one another, creating a marriage on equal strength and support, never surpassing one another and instead creating a type of electronica that is delicate while at the same time, unmatchable in strength and beauty. If you’re looking for another album to add to the list of nighttime reflections/long journey soundtracks, then Regrowth will easily fit the mould.
Even when Regrowth picks up pace and volume on A Ruin and Let Slide especially, the album’s unique selling point is that even the most deeply self-reflecting person could become lost in Kauf’s world of hypnotic electronica. Regrowth’s appeal is how sadly relatable Kauf’s narratives are. Let Slide begins with a rapidly rising crescendo that teases a flash of fast-paced electronics, ready to explode into dance-friendly music, before quickly becoming entranced in Kauf’s mystic spell of uplifting, downbeat electronica. Hiding beneath a guise of friendly techno, Let Slide balances together Kauf’s dark sense of style with his precision for beautifully executed electronica.
The oxymoron that is Kauf doesn’t let up at any point throughout Regrowth, as the entirety of this album is a journey through the realms of Kaufman’s mental wellbeing and the struggles that failed relationships especially can have on one’s personal life.
100, toys with the ear-friendly association of pan-pipes that producers such as TEED and Jamie xx have made widely accessible for mainstream electronica fans, while Turning follows the production rules of trip-hop so closely that you could almost be made to believe that Kauf has been secretly writing the manual for electronica’s splinter genres for the past 10 or so years.
A Ruin, focused on the realisation of a relationship with an ex-boyfriend being completely superficial, is completely drenched in over the top displays of electrical prowess, as the spacial electro of Regrowth almost feels forgotten upon your first play of A Ruin when coursed together between 100 and Limestone. Yet, A Ruin perfectly captures Regrowth’s style completely, as the dramatic use of intense electronica with sparkling synths and heavy drum beats, partnered together with thumping bass makes the euphoric experience of A Ruin even more exciting to listen to almost a year and a half after its single release.
As challenging as Regrowth may appear to be, seizing every single splinter genre of electronica into one, much like a black hole absorbing all of the light around it, Regrowth’s intensity is impossible to resist. The LA producer utilises the weakest moments of his personal life, realising the level of strength that can be drawn from these sombre times, turning his darkest memories and worries into something completely beautiful and unquestionably spectacular.