Are You Land or Water is like a colouring book for the imagination; the template is there in its inspiration and themes but each track within the new album from Norwegian band Kitchie Kitchie Ki Me O, is as much an adventure to self conjure as an atmospheric and evocative landscape to explore. The six track incitement immerses the senses then grows in thoughts; each of its proposals a unique art rock seducing awash with warmly invasive ambiences and when united a release which has body and emotions enraptured.
Part of Are You Land or Water was inspired by the Barbarossa Cave in the Kyffhäuser region of Germany and behind it the myth of Frederick Barbarossa – former German monarch and Roman Emperor of the twelfth century – who is said to slumber within these caverns in a palace beneath the Kyffhäuser hills where his beard grows in circles around the table at which he rests. He is said to be waiting until either he can reign once more over a unified Germany or till the end of the world; whichever arrives first. Its beauty made a potent impact upon the band’s main creative force, Alexander Kloster-Jensen (Alex K), his visit coinciding with the fermentation period of ideas for the album to come. Talking about its theme, Alex said of the album “Are You Land or Water is about tension, and describes the states of passive and active. You cannot be the two at the same time, but the two states are equally important.” They are dynamics which play skilfully throughout the release, and again essences which simply spark ears and imagination into creative responses.
The album opens with Barbarossa (Fire Birth) and its swift compulsive lure of rhythms. Metronomic beats and a heavy dark bassline instantly enslave attention and an ever ready appetite for brooding post punk, steely eyed temptation. In the shadows slithers of sound and percussive skittishness also play, their often tribal flirtation bringing a scent of eighties bands like King Trigger to mind before the rapacious sonic trespass of guitars electrifies the compelling jungle of sound with their intimidating breath. The track is irresistible; its instrumental canvas inescapably gripping and raw sonic air scintillating.
The following Saleph (The Voyage) pulls the listener into a magnetic electronic stroll with melodic guitar ripples and the seductive tempering of rhythms. Once more electro imagination brews a host of provocative spots of noise across the track’s suggestive sea, each adding more colour and intrigue for the imagination to play with. As with its predecessor and songs to come, there is a great repetitive coaxing working on the psyche, a polite nagging that holds an already greedier appetite fast as rhythms dance and guitars cast their sail in the besetting sonic flight.
Going Forth By Day is the first to offer a vocal texture and narrative to the release, the track another with eighties hues which engage like a blend of The The and David Byrne. Instantly infectious with a great cast of shadows to its atmosphere and broody rhythms, the frequently evolving song is instinctively mesmeric with its celestial harmonies within a sultry climate. It provides a persistent sparking of thoughts with its fresh reflective excursion before Are You Land Or Water (The Deluge) invites feet and hips into its funk ‘n’ roll shuffle with again resonating beats and stirring dynamics colluding with vibrant yet melancholy laced emotion and lively enterprise.
Another inspired by those aforementioned caves and legend, Kyffhäuser (The Path) is a psych rock infused instrumental with again that grounding of sublime repetition and mythical drama; all low key but potent in their capture of ears and adventure forging thoughts. The track tantalises from first to last breath, its slightly predacious bassline within an intoxicating warm sonic mystery making for another masterful collusion of contrasts to become deeply involved in and linger in contemplation with.
The album is completed by the expansive spatial delving of Europa (First Light), the track like a celestial dawning and examination within a subdued yet tempestuous ethereal flight drawing the listener towards an introspective single hearted croon. The vastness of the contrasts and extremes is fascinating, their bewitching and surprising merger a darkly tranquil and hugely stimulating proposition.
Are You Land or Water is one of those encounters providing new adventure with every listen; it’s often minimalistic landscapes as powerful and persuasive as its involved atmospheres and poetic ambiences. Kitchie Kitchie Ki Me O has provided the year with an early treat, now we suggest you do the same for your imagination and ears.
Are You Land or Water is out now via House of Mythology @ http://houseofmythology.com/releases/view/kkkmo-are-you-land-or-water
Pete RingMaster 25/01/2016
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