I've been looking for an album like this for a while; one that combines thick ambience and drone elements with relatively straightforward songwriting in an emotional and compelling way. This album so thoroughly scratches that itch for me, and I'm really happy that it's a part of my collection.
Favorite track: We Walk Together.
King Midas Sound is comprised of Kevin Martin (also known for his work under The Bug moniker), singer/poet Roger Robinson, and vocalist Kiki Hitomi. Their landmark 2009 debut Waiting For You on Hyperdub quickly established them as falling sonically somewhere between sub-electronic lovers' rock, dub and the bleakest, slowest mutation of narco hip-hop, while on the live front they were nestled somewhere between the apocalypse and FX-drenched, shoegaze laments. In both arenas they are known as a brooding sonic force. With a move over to Ninja Tune plus the release of 2013's lauded "Aroo" single and in particular its b-side "Funny Love” an even deeper sense of spaciousness began to set in. That track’s dramatic tonal shift acted as a catalyst for the idea of a conceptual collaborative project to be born. Hence this first edition (in a series of four), appropriately titled Edition 1.
Looking even further back it does seems fitting that the person (Kevin Martin) who once curated a compilation called Isolationism is one of the key contributors behind this truly mesmeric examination of melancholy and desolation, Edition 1 features collaborator number one, Austrian guitarist / electronic musician Fennesz. His 2001 album Endless Summer was a swirling mix of electric tonal guitars and sweeping emotional shifts which inspired and sparked an admiration within Kevin and Roger to bring him on board. Utilizing improvised guitar tracks, samples, and unreleased material from Fennesz's archive, Edition 1 took shape within the KMS framework. In the wake of Kevin's last Bug album Angels & Devils, he wanted to create a record focused on kaleidoscopic sonic beauty, bathed in the bluest emotional lyricism. This record reflects the group’s past, present, and a truly extraordinary future.
Edition 1 is a tide coming in. A fog reaching out into nothing, and encapsulating everything. An ultimate parting note drifting into absolute loneliness, swept up in a sumptuously blurred, dronal haze. Hallucinatory tone poems of heartbreak, despair, disappearance, and displacement. Seductively spatial sketches of long goodbyes. Music to cling to or to be used to move past. Sounds set adrift on their own tonal plain and reigned back in by Roger & Kiki's complimentary, yet extremely different deliveries. Cosmic blues meets a siren’s song. A zonal re-examination of "It's Raining Today" or an audio representation of a Sugimoto "Seascapes" photo... A high water mark forever etched to memory.
Additionally, watch for these two sonic heavyweights and their no-holds-barred performance reputations to bring this collaboration to the live stage starting with European dates in the autumn.
Edition 2 through 4 to follow, with collaborators kept under wraps, each one to be a genre-stretching and boundary-pushing surprise, packaged with a conceptual continuity.