King Midas Sound, Fennesz – Edition 1

(Ninja Tune, 2015)

The experimental musical collective known as King Midas Sound consists of Kevin Martin (also known as The Bug), Roger Robinson (a Trinidadian poet and musician) and Kiki Hitomi (artist and singer also of Dokkebi Q, and Black Chow, also with Martin). They have released their first two albums “Waiting For You…” (2009) and “Without You” (2011) through Hyperdub, and now this their third full-length through Ninja Tune.

On this album they collaborate with the Australian experimental musician and guitarist Christian Fennesz, whose sound archives have functioned as a treasure chest samples for this release. Musical mastermind Martin’s background in Electronic music (with acts such as Techno Animal with Justin Broadrick) has culminated into quite slow and noisy sounds, taking much from the logics of Dub Reggae in general, and this album is no different.

Most of the musical side of the album consists of dreamy and hazy, distorted but soft, quite ambient soundscapes like a calm ebb and flow of electronic waves against gravel and concrete, or inner black and blue and white movie scenes drifting by in slow motion. Hissing and buzzing, ethereal and howling, misty and drony synth sounds are backed by minimal organic and electronic-sounding percussions and basses, as well as other random effects, adding to the electric yet strangely organic atmosphere of the songs. Sometimes the music rests solely on ambient soundscapes, sometimes many layers of more active electronics are raising the pace a bit, but the general atmosphere is always calm and temperate.

The extremely talented and experienced-sounding vocals sung by Roger are sensitive and quite dramatic even, yet full of strength and emotion, reminding me heavily of the Jazz, soul and Funk albums of the seventies. The singing of Kiki is almost happening on the level whispering, being always extremely intimate and sensual, also fitting the general moods of the album perfectly.

The production of the album is of very high quality, even with momentary (deliberate) somewhat low-fi noisy parts. If you are familiar with Kevin’s previous work, you know what the man is capable of. He can be at the same time extremely loud and noisy, yet beautiful, etheric and transcendental.

The general atmosphere of the album is melancholic but not by any means depressive, oppressive or anxious. To me, this music is the perfect soundtrack for those dark and wet nightly autumnal walks in the city, with feelings moving between the eeriness of the street lights, and the intimacy of the dark bedroom. This album offers many sceneries full of emotions to anyone into intelligent, slow, noisy and hazy electronic music, or just simply calm and emotional soundtrack-like stuff for those lonely nights. The next album by King Midas Sound will apparently also be a collaborative album, with personnel involved to be revealed at a later date. Very much waiting for that one as well.

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