On Deck: The Keep

The Keep is the avenue through which Gothenburg-based producer Oliver Knowles explores a vast array of droning rhythms, noisy tones, and electronic textures. He selectively tweaks and adapts these sounds into a whirring phantasmagoria of anomalous percussion, nervous synths and a wild circuital abandon. The bass thumps and moans under the curious rhythmic complexities that Knowles creates, as these open-ended soundscapes offer mystery and a clandestine emotional density which are rarely discovered by most musicians.

Knowles just released his latest EP, Andra, via Houndstooth. “Andra is about a journey and new beginnings,” he explains. “This narrative runs throughout the EP, and but each track has its own path. A lot of the music is a reflection of my surroundings of the lakes and woodland on the outskirts of Gothenburg.”

Knowles recently sat down for Beats Per Minute to talk about some of the records which have shaped his own musical trajectory. Scroll down to read a bit about them, and check out “Through Portals”, a buzzing and excitable synth-washed track from Andra.

“I moved to Gothenburg around this time last year so thought I’d write about some of my favourite Swedish artists who have been an integral part of my musical journey.”

The Knife – Shaking the Habitual

[Rabid; 2013]

I remember hearing “Heartbeats” all those years ago after the TV ad with the Jose Gonzalez cover, and I got really into the weird scrappy synth pop they were making. When they announced this album after a six or seven year hiatus, I was definitely not expecting a nine-minute anxiety-inducing short film for “Full of Fire”. I remember watching at work and just sitting there with my mouth hanging open like an idiot. Life changing stuff. 

Refused – The Shape of Punk to Come

[Burning Heart; 1998]

I was doing my A Levels when this album came out. It really opened the doors to hardcore for me though I’m not sure you could really call this a hardcore album. But I guess that’s the point! It’s one of those records I like to listen to as a whole because it’s immaculate from start to finish. No song is really the same. I think when artists combine a number of musical styles it can sound confused, but this was crafted so well. It still blows my mind how good it is. I’m gonna listen to it right now.

iamamiwhoami – Blue

[To whom it may concern; 2014]

A friend from my old work introduced me to iamamiwhoami around the time this audio visual album was announced. Each single was released as a video with these beautiful films shot in Iceland. I loved that this raw nature was soundtracked by electronic music, but it was perfect for creating this otherworldly feel. I still listen to this album a lot. It’s beautiful. 

Meshuggah – I

[Fractured Transmitter; 2004]

Meshuggah is the best metal band of all time. All of their albums are perfect, but this was my introduction to them. It’s just one song that’s 21 minutes long. 21 minutes of metal perfection. 

Robyn – Honey

[Konichiwa; 2018]

It was definitely “Dancing on My Own” that got me obsessed with Robyn’s music, but I’d say that I listen to Honey more as an album. She always writes what you want to hear but not necessarily what you’d expect. I think she’s one of the greatest pop artists performing today.

The Keep’s Andra EP is out now on Houndstooth. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.