Close Eyes To Exit is the second full length album from KRTS, and a worthy successor to his debut album The Dread Of An Unknown Evil, a release that made my shortlist for best of the year. Where his debut album felt like a taughtly wound piece of urban clostrophobia, Close Eyes To Exit is a broader body of work that encompasses a wider range of styles.
Within that range we have some of KRTS' most upbeat moments. White Priveledge is more carefree than the title would suggest, and perhaps that is the point... Upbeat drum & bass rhythms roll along whilst KRTS conjures a warm, uplifting pattern of chords. My Head Is Jumpin' deals with the mental traps and emotional turmoil that shape us all from the inside without those on the outside even necessarily noticing. The track features Charles Larson and Tito Ramsey of the Brooklyn based band Legs. Glittering production and deep rumbling bass gives the song a sense of momentum, the whole thing sounding like it is spinning around your head.
In contrast to this is Serve And Protect, a dark and angry rebuke of a media that normalises violence against black people, Mad Flows' vocals painting a picture of disillusionment and frustration.
The instrumental cuts provide plenty of the sophisticated, soulful sounds that KRTS excels in. In Your Head is warm and choral, rhythms and scattered handclaps giving it an organic and earthy feel. Marriage Is Between Lovers is cinematic and romantically free of cynicism. In contrast If This Was Your Child, the album's closing piece, feels like a veiled threat - pitch black aggressive bass and distortion envelopes the listener before abandoning them in silence.
It is clear KRTS has poured a lot of emotional anguish into Close Eyes To Exit - even the title sounds like a desperate attempt to escape the frustration of modern living. In contrast to The Dread Of An Unknown Evil, this album feels harder to trace and pin down - that previous album did so much with so little time that it couldn't help but be very focused. On his second album proper, KRTS' ideas are bigger... They just don't quite come together to make a relatable whole.
Close Eyes To Exit is released on Friday through Project: Mooncircle. Listen to White Privilege and Serve and Protect below.