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Kinski - Alpine Static

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Artist: Kinski

Album: Alpine Static

Label: Sub Pop

Review date: Jul. 26, 2005

Every fan and detractor knows the formula: Kinski alternately cajoles and pummels with warm droney passages and all-out riff-based assaults, sometimes building to climaxes, sometimes launching headlong into them. Last year’s Don’t Climb On and Take the Holy Water, presented under the Herzog moniker, offered a glimpse into some latent orchestrated possibilities, apparent in retrospect on Airs Above your Station but not really that album’s MO.

Alpine Static presents a fairly radical shift in group dynamics and deployment, successfully incorporating the sonic wash of Holy Water into the Kinski model while often stretching the boundaries of said model almost to its breaking point. Longtime fans of the trademark sludgy psych needn’t worry, as tracks like “The Party which you Know Will be Heavy” and “Passed Out On your Lawn” thrive on it, and the disc has several of those slow-burn Kinski epics. However, each track presents twists and turns that keep things fresh and exciting through Kinski’s boldest statement to date.

After coddling to expectations and preconceptions for several minutes, “Hot Stenographer” suddenly comes to a dissonant halt on a single held note; beyond the guarded fluidity of much ambient drone, this is a frozen moment of clarity before the riffage kicks back in. It is only the first of many such instances on a disc that, more than any Kinski effort so far, thrives on abrupt changes in the sonic landscape. Some of them chart new territory for the band: witness the momentary descent into a rather unsubtle but undeniable Derek Bailey-esque maelstrom on “The Party Which You Know Will Be Heavy,” or the relentlessly heavy mindnumbing conclusion to “Stenographer.” Equally poignant but similarly unexpected is a beautifully Frippertronic excursion that closes “Passed Out on your Lawn,” almost inverting the “lull, build, crush” Kinski aesthetic. The inner details exposed in each sound on Holy Water seem to have pervaded Kinski’s compositions, giving them a new freedom and imbuing Alpine Static with an experimental edge that complements the group’s already visceral approach.

By Marc Medwin

Other Reviews of Kinski


Airs Above Your Station

Don't Climb On and Take The Holy Water

Down Below It's Chaos

Cosy Moments

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