Khotin - Release Spirit (Pink Vinyl)


Pickup available at Appleton Store

Usually ready in 2-4 days

Canadian producer Dylan Khotin-Foote has kept his Khotin alias going for the better part of a decade; the impressionistic electronic project shifts with the movements in his life. Sometimes it leads, like when the club-friendly grooves of 2014's Hello World immersed him in the heart of Vancouver's underground dance scene, and sometimes it follows, like 2018's Beautiful You, a downtempo salve for DJ fatigue. His melodic sensibility and playful ear for atmosphere remain the rippling core of the project's fingerprint; whether beat-driven or ambient, a foggy smear or a dusted and pristine print, a Khotin track has a distinct and instantly recognizable swirl. During and after the 2020 release of Finds You Well, his second LP on Ghostly International, Khotin-Foote settled back into a slower vibe in his hometown of Edmonton. Even before the pandemic, his pivots to softer production, and away from DJing, left him with fewer opportunities in Vancouver and club bookings overall, and as a self-identifying introvert, he was fine with that. But the change of pace did open space for Khotin-Foote to grapple with concepts of adulthood and career. At his lowest, he almost walked off this musical path altogether; instead, he doubled down on the craft - the tone, pacing, and dynamism of new material - arriving at a definitive full-length. With Release Spirit, Khotin releases himself from the pressure of expectation, fusing and refining everything we know about his music. The warmth and familiarity of Khotin's dreamy, dulcet style meet new ideas and frameworks, a natural progression, a modest revelation; Khotin confirms it is okay to move slowly and he's never sounded better doing it.

The album title borrows from the "release spirit" mechanic in the video game World of Warcraft. When players die, they are prompted to release their spirit and return as ghosts to find their corpses and come back to life. Khotin sees it as a worthy metaphor for the impending change his return home presented and the resulting process of purging artistic expectations to find his creative self again. On this go-around, he is freer, more playful, and more intentional within his palette of warped synth, breakbeats, and piano sounds - including the classic Casio SK-1 presets he's used since the start - mingling with wistful samples, field recordings, and other abstract snippets. For the first time, he enlisted Nik Kozub to do the mix and assist with sequencing. Khotin-Foote has long worked with the Edmonton-based musician and engineer in the mastering phase, as well as their days co-running the label Normals Welcome, and this time was able to involve his ears earlier given their newfound proximity. "I think it's my best sounding record to date."