Kinski, Alpine Static

Kinski, Alpine Static

Alpine Static, the fourth composed full-length studio album from mostly-instrumental Seattle drone-rock quartet Kinski, marks another step in the band’s continued evolution. There seems to be a conscious effort here to make things a bit more concise, an eschewing of previous albums’ method of long build-ups to cathartic grand entrances. Something is lost in this process, but much is also gained, and in general the tracks seem to rock harder on this album, without losing the textured drone qualities you no doubt have/will come to love.

The first track, “Hot Stenographer,” begins the album in promising fashion, with an initial solo statement followed by a sudden ramp up into full-on group rock action. The track continually builds, seemingly about to achieve lift-off. Disappointingly, however, that never seems to happen, and the track instead descends into a near-prog repetition that seems ascetic rather than ecstatic, although sometimes I wonder if it instead is meant to convey an extremely dry sense of self-aware humor. “The Wives of Artie Shaw” follows hot on the heels of the preceding track, and features full-fledged rock riffing whose repetition better serves the aims of the song. The rocking aims of the album seem to fully come to fruition on the next track, “Hiding Drugs in the Temple (part 2),” whose precision counter-intuitively imparts the giddy feeling of harnessing guitar noise for peaceful purposes.

“The Party Which You Know Will Be Heavy” marks a slight return to the classic Kinski technique of juxtaposition of beautiful quiet clean sounds with distorto-rock-a-thon, albeit here in more restrained fashion. In a somewhat ill-advised move, however, the first rocking section is followed for a time by near silence. All is forgiven, though, when the rock returns, followed by another pretty section. Perhaps indicating the results of the aforementioned heavy party, “Passed out on Your Lawn” begins forebodingly, prior to some good old hypnotic rock repetition, then dissolves into pure guitar noise textures. The song seems to come out of it by fading in the rock that had disappeared, but then dissolves once more into texture and eventually to creepy reverbed voices spinning in your head. The guy on the lawn finally wakes up to pastoral hallucinations in which “All Your Kids have Turned to Static,” quiet and beautiful, with flutes, so as not to hurt the aching head. After being taken to the loony bin in “The Snowy Parts of Scandinavia,” our man on the lawn’s mind veers between the prettiness of the last track and hellacious noise, before finally getting the cure, Kinski style. “Edge Set” provides enough room for Kinski to stretch out a bit, and “Waka Nusa” quietly brings this excellent album to a close.

(Sub Pop Records -- P.O. Box 20367, Seattle, WA. 98102; http://www.subpop.com/; Kinski -- http://www.kinski.net/)
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Review by . Review posted Saturday, October 1st, 2005. Filed under Reviews.

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