Album Review: Phrakture – Ka Boukie
Phrakture merges ambient, electronic and experimental sound to create an enveloping sonic narrative. The condensed six-track record not only captures the vocal capability of Boukie but relays a high-quality production and a transgressive crossover between music and dramatic art. The tracklist fashions a contemplative atmosphere realized through a careful arrangement of tracks and a unique mingling of genres, each manifested from a distinctly melancholy perspective. The first track, ‘Tired Eyes,’ is a heavy, spoken-word intro to the album. Murmuring bass loiters beneath Boukie’s vivid monologue which straddles unhinged subject-matters – its poetic simplicity putting a distinctly overcast but impassioned tone to work.
Next track ‘Adborn’ switches the temperament of the album’s beginnings by introducing Boukie’s ethereal harmonies, translating his previous spoken-word monologue into a moaning melody. Structurally, this is the first insight into the striking arrangement of the album, with a progressive mesh of metallic fading beats and pitched synth counteracting a repeat of the non-descript static in previous track ‘Tired Eyes.’
‘Adborn’ and ‘Dirty Insides’ characterize the height of celestial sound emanating from the record. ‘Dirty Insides’ toys with features of the previous track, but focuses on smoothed synth fused with electronic accents to illuminate the best of Boukie’s rousing harmonies. The introduction of an electronic focus is a fundamental progression on the record. The amalgamation of elongated chords and crisp, singular notes launches a revised attack on the transcendental sounds of the ambient genre.
Phrakture is noteworthy for its stylish confrontation of purity with its demons – but it’s clear Boukie’s creative loyalty resides within the sonic representation of the latter. ‘Oda’ spawns a valuable take on the experimental sound, creating a purposeful discomfort for the listener with screeching string and dissonant samples of bells laboriously swinging between Boukie’s lyrics. Again, the listener is invited to experience a pivotal alteration in the album’s constitution with the debut of a repetitive beat borne out of sounds appearing across the prior track-listing, replenishing the reason for interest in Boukie’s vigilant arrangement.
Penultimate track ‘Mamona Maximum’ is the closest thing you’ll get to a dance tune on this record – but I wouldn’t say it’s that either. With a larger focus on imitating the features of electronica and a richer sound override, the track hosts fluctuating synth to form a chic melody, and lighter beats to switch the track between distinct sections. Although arguably more accessible than the rest of his work, it’s a shame not to see Boukie alter up his vocals to accompany the crescendo in genre crossover.
As the record concludes with ‘Grandma Prayer,’ Boukie shrewdly runs full circle with a return to the record’s beginning, recovering a similar monologue from a non-distinct preacher, supported by sine wave generations. Here, the juxtaposition between the terrestrial, religion-induced words of the narrator against the curated space-like imagery of the sound emphasizes a theme present throughout the record. Boukie plays with a religious undertone to provoke an unease when paired with adulterated sounds – truly embodying the album’s compelling merge between music and dramatic art. It’s not easy-listening, but with a record so condensed but broad in stylistic supervision – why should it be?