Thursday, May 17, 2012

Kinski - Down Below Its Chaos


Saw these guys open for White Hills at Mississippi Studios the other night. I used to see them regularly, back in Chicago, opening for Acid Mothers Temple and other psych freaks. I remember always being impressed with the thick rich sonorities of their climactic live sets, frequently bowing guitar and bass. They seemed like the missing link between megalithic shoegaze, like Jesu or Nadja, with classic flying saucer psych rock, the kind of stuff they cream over at the Ptolemaic Terrascope.

I went in expecting to be mesmerized, yet Kinski succeeded in blowing my mind, anyway. They were totally fucking flaying on a Tues. night, pummeling and thrashing away, building radioactive dust-devils of guitars and feedback. The drums sounded like leaden cathedrals, while the bass creaked like a tall ship lost at sea. Most importantly, their set seemed like a paean to the mighty RIFF! Satisfying, solid rock 'n roll, catchy despite the fact that there was hardly any vocals at all.

Down Below Its Chaos is the band's most recent outing on Sub Pop. I am dusting it off and exposing to the cold cruel sunlight to raise awareness of this mighty band, and to whet yr whistle for their upcoming album, which is due out sometime this year. In this day and age of over-exposure and ennui, someone has to champion the cause of solid bands that have persevered over years, solidifying their craft. There is no replacement for experience, and Kinski have clearly refined their pallette over the 14 years of their existence. Their songwriting is strong and swift, pointed and clear. Like a stick in the eye. They have mastered the tools available to a predominantly instrumental rock band, but never succumb to post-rock cliches or metalcore melodrama. Their jams will shift on a dime, and where you expect a 4 to the floor drop, they will launch into bowed bass drones and sci-fi electronics and THEN drop you on yr head. It works three times as well, and the precision with which they execute their changes borders on telepathic.

I got into this reviewing racket to try and learn how to write songs. That was it, all these words, all these years, these millions of records and billions of songs, for the simple bloody goal of trying to write a fucking good song. I have been seeking clarity and focus, looking to strip down inspired music to the base essentials, and distill its essence. Its like audio alchemy. Seeing Kinski and White Hills the other night was like beginning a new chapter. I was caught up, again, in the youthful excitement of tight, sharp riffs and multiple instruments blasting away in unison! I have always been a headbanger at heart, and watching Kinski rock Mississippi Studio's barn-like stage rekindled a spark in my heart for endless two-chord jams.

These guys are truly something special, levitating above the legions of bearded Kyuss clones. Their tone is superb (Down Below Its Chaos was recorded by Randall Dunn in Seattle, who has also worked with Sunn O))) and Earth) and their song-writing instincts are spot on. The 9 tracks blaze by like a dream of golden pyramids, from which you hope never to wake. Either re-discover a cherished relic, or discover a new favorite!

If you live in Seattle, and you see this in time, Kinski will be playing at the Comet Tavern w/ Low Hums and Terminal Fuzz Terror. Go support yr hometown heroes.

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