Seattle based quartet mix minimalist moves with overdriven metallic riffing...
Nick Reynolds 2005-07-13
Electric guitars. I love them.
I love them best when they sound like they are playing themselves. When they start to feed back, drone and scratch. When they seem to escape from the fingers of whoever is playing and take on a life of their own.
So Kinski are right up my alley. They're from Seattle, and might be described as post-minimalist-post-grunge-easy listening. They're a rock band but they don't have a singer. They have clear influences from classical post-modern composers like Steve Reich.
They like to start with, for example, some chunky Sabbaff-style riffing ("Hot Stenographer") and then evolve into something more out there that screws around with your brain. "Hot Stenographer" ends with a section of continuous beats where four time evolves into three and two without you understanding why. You end up feeling giddy. In a good way.
This CD, Kinski's second, is full of good and simple ideas. "The Wives of Artie Shaw" could be a Pixies B side and is tight and punchy. "The Party Which You Know Will Be Heavy" rolls along until some raw fretboard scrapes ratchet up the tension before a final headbanging conclusion. The free form freak out on "Passed Out On Your Lawn" does go on a bit, but it's the only blemish.
"All Your Kids Have Turned to Static" is a brief respite - a gentle duet between flute and guitar that sounds like it was recorded on someone's lawn in San Francisco in 1968. It gives you a breather before the nine minute constantly ascending heroic epic of "The Snowy Parts Of Scandinavia" (which are the unsnowy parts? Denmark I suppose). It features a deliciously ugly guitar solo. This track and the nine minute "Edge Set" are both so good they could have come from Sonic Youth's last album.
It's true that many of Kinski's ideas are not new. But they execute them well. This a well sequenced, clever, tasteful, intelligent and solid album.