Saturday, 25 February 2012

The 2kDozen 500: #74 - Kingbastard, "Lost Property"

I've only recently become aware of Kingbastard, when he was recommended by a friend of mine and I heard his 2010 "Beautiful Isolation" album. And a beautiful study in isolation it is - the sound of a thousand mornings spent staring out the window.

"Lost Property" is an album recorded about (and possibly in, I'm not sure) a deserted house in Pembrokeshire called Danlan. Not just a music album either: the MP3 version contains different pictures and paintings for each track of parts of the house. A pretty knackered building it looks too, streaked with tired paint and rotted domesticity.

The scary nature of being on your own with your thoughts hums throughout the tracks, sometimes almost literally as in the case of "Abandoned". Some of the tracks have a lot more of a techno feel (like opener "Dust" or "Glim" for example) than "Beautiful Isolation", which seemed more directly influenced by found sounds. But they remain anchored in this space, mentally and geographically - "D.U.S.T." lists the different words for remains, which Danlan must be covered in.

"Take Me Home" is an semi-acoustic number that begins simply ("Take me home/To where I want to be") before the reverb beings its sinister swamp and the waves are overwhelmed by their own backwash. Then the hiss and crackle of  "Fireplace", which stares intensely into the suburban lawn at the beginning of Blue Velvet, the seething insect life and death initially invisible amongst the manicured blades of grass. The sound of the fire seems to appear in the mix every few minutes, along with rain and crackle and birdsong.

I imagine I'd already find this house pretty scary if I'd stumbled upon it. But "Rocking Chair" gives me even more chill, looping the sound of the chair itself alongside a mournful piano line, sad as mushrooms. "Under The Staircase" echoes fuzzily about, brimming with artificial surface noise and cowboying off into the sunset in the stair cupboard. It's slightly eerie, but does calm some of the distended noises a while.

"The Mist Descends" swells with the blissful, medicated power of the earlier album: I can almost see a halo of light pouring out from behind KB's head. "Danlan" has a touch of the electro again, although built up out of found sounds and some slide guitar - "Albatross" as if written by the Ancient Mariner and not Fleetwood Mac. "Memory's Ghost" has a Sergio Leone feel with the accompanying picture is of KB himself as a poetic-eyed, brooding corpse.

There is also less tension. "Let's Go For A Walk" supplies some relief with a child-friendly, folky guitar lick Then there are distant vocals buried in the mix on this track and for the cheery closer, "Diwedd y Llwybr Troed" (End of the Footpath). But the lack of audible words in general underline the isolation (who would be there to listen?) and solipsistic nature of the music. Music for exploring an empty house.

And the hidden track is called "Hidden", which is nice. Hidden in plain sight, as it were. Built with the noise of dead television sets, lost choirs and slippery-fingered guitars. "They're here!"

"When Time Stands Still" is such powerful stuff, it threatens to punch a hole through the sense of where I am. Another good result from spending time in the wildernesses, inner and outer.

Rating: Soaring Up out of The Woods

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