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OST - Kes

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Artist: OST

Album: Kes

Label: Trunk

Review date: Sep. 16, 2002

Soothing Sounds for Reluctant Man-and-Womanchildren

My brother attends a Chicago private school for artsy types, and says that no sector of the student population packs away psychoactive drugs at a heroic pace like those planning careers in children’s entertainment. Indeed, the consummate professional risks health, relationships and a grip on reality; purveyors of kiddie fare must maintain a certain detached sense of magic, even if they cease recognizing close relatives and sense that their stuffed animals are conspiring to bury them in daffodils should they allow sleep to overtake them. Competition drives the market. Got to stay in shape to keep the pace.

Practitioners of kid stuff patrol that thin aquamarine line between cutesy joy and responsible dullness. These people suffer for our sins. They cheat death through their art. They risk their own necks so that we may have lush, simple little wombs to crawl in when this bitch called life has wrung all the tears out of us. They live in a dreamworld full-time to keep it spiffy for the rest of us, on those occasions when we benefit from a visit. Such as when we score some dank, dank reefer and just want to be left alone for the night with a Felix the Cat retrospective, the sound turned down on the TV and something without obvious context to toss on the hi-fi. Theirs is a noble cause, even if you’d be an idiot to loan one of them a twenty.

Kes, this soundtrack to a 1969 film I’ve never seen, might be a record for such times. It’s twenty minutes of flutes, clarinets and harps, celebrating the first flush of dawn and a fluttering monarch alight on a new baby’s nose. It’s out of time, place and all sense of tough, worldly decorum. ‘Swonderful, for about 20 minutes. The disc’s brevity keeps its infantile siren’s call from being any more troublesome or annoyingly dissociating than necessary.

This was taken straight from an occasionally wobbly master tape, and wouldn’t have been the same any other way. The dips underwater enhance the feeling that you’ve discovered a long forgotten cassette in some dark corner of someone’s childhood bedroom. Kes keeps you fixed in the laughably idyllic daydream.

By Emerson Dameron

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