Marc Kate

Artist / Label Director


Taking cues from its San Francisco home, Never Knows conveys the spiraling sense of vertigo from the Hitchcock film mixed with the dark urgency of fog rolling in at dusk and the hybrid electronic shamanism practiced within the city’s tech labs. Purposefully unsettling, and at times euphoric, Never Knows produces a unique music that snatches multiple influences from the past and deftly contextualizes them into future dilemmas. The project also practices conflict, pitting an allegiance to the dance floor against the need for subtle, thought-provoking soundscapes; or the pursuit of an ‘art’ versus a disposition towards more primal or visceral efforts. Most importantly, Never Knows makes music … cold, synthesized music that becomes warm through heartfelt purpose. There is a method to the madness, and all of these contradictions snuggly fit together to form the unexpected and always intriguing sound of Never Knows.

Never Knows is the latest project from Marc Kate, proprietor of the cult experimental electronic label Untitled & After (“it wants to be the 4AD of techno”). Never Knows comes hot on the heels of previous electronic projects and signals a fresh beginning in sound as well as a consolidated vision. Studio creation is an important aspect of Never Knows, drawing upon decades of audio movements and manipulators to determine the act’s technique. Tracking forward, Never Knows cites sixties minimalism, seventies Krautrock, eighties goth, nineties shoegaze, and the last decade’s sharpened techno output as present influences. Never Knows is a potent live act, having already transported its wires and computers to dark, dingy nightclub basements in the bay area for its sonic experiments. In either setting Never Knows produces tracks that are atmospheric and moody, dense and deep, and also rhythmic and throbbing. It’s compellingly dark body music, a reminder that the nightclub is a site for rituals best performed at night.

The debut release from Never Knows on Untitled & After was the “Fear Of The Unknown” / “Poe” split single, coming out of nowhere and proving divisive but memorable to those who received it. Statement made, Never Knows followed this with evocative singles for Trip Show and Modyfier, the latter featuring three tracks created solely with guitar pedals and a Roland TR-808 drum machine. For the latest Untitled & After single the project continues its risky undertakings, collaborating with renowned bay area vocalist Kevin Knapp on the instantly controversial “Black Enough.” Featuring a personal and political message by Knapp over dramatic synth chords and an incessantly pulsating low end, “Black Enough” is a track that not only challenges one to groove, but also asks one to question why they are even grooving in the first place. In a time of increasingly disposable dance tracks and quickly cobbled DAW efforts, “Black Enough” is welcome and refreshing.

Never Knows continues this trajectory with further unexpected releases, thoughtful experiments, and provocative declarations. Live performance will also become more of a focus as the project attempts to translate its studio crafted headspace to in-the-moment environs. It’s a mystery as to what Never Knows is up to next, but one can be certain that any developments will prove intriguing, heady, and impossible to ignore.

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