July 10, 2005

Kinski - Alpine Static

Don't expect rock instrumentalists Kinski to be easy listening for the over-thirties. Their new album Alpine Static, released Jul. 12 on Sup Pop, may begin with a near-classical intro backed by the sounds of nature, but it soon gives way to driving heavy metal guitars.

Lucy Atkinson, Chris Martin, Matthew Reid-Schwartz, and Barrett Wilke use jamming techniques that make for some energetic, creative moments. Occasionally, though, they seem to forget themselves and get stuck in a hook. The end of the first track, "Hot Stenographer," has an unmistakable broken-record effect.

The compositions themselves are complicated and layered once the music has gelled, but the transition between Kinski's more ethereal and heavy sounds are a bit too abrupt. As soon as you become comfortable with the music, for better or for worse, you will be jarred from the stupor by loud screeching and banging guitars. I found myself waiting for the spaces in between, when otherworldly sounds and understated strumming would bring me back to that relaxed state. The fact that the album ends with the same subdued notes on which it began makes me believe this was all intentional.

Overall, tight and powerful drumming, well-placed guitars, epic avant-garde experimentalism, and unusual instrumental combinations ("The Wives of Artie Shaw" (MP3) boasts a flute solo), make the album worth a listen. Stream the entire album here.

Click here to buy Alpine Static