So, Mogwai and Black Sabbath had an illegitimate lovechild. I don't know how, but it happened. Put up for adoption and lovingly raised by Seattle's Kinski, today it finds itself at the front end of their new album Alpine Static with the name 'Hot Stenographer'. It's not doing too bad for its age either - the acne scars have cleared up, the hair is glossy and well managed and we're past that awkward teenage phase. Earthy riffing is all over this song along with angular stop-starts and charging drumrolls. Then in the closing portion, every instrument pounds away at the same note for a a full minute. On my first listen, I turned back to my stereo speakers only to find them staring back at me blankly as if to say "No, I don't know either."
Alpine Static is Kinski's second record on Sub Pop and has enough bodyblows for noise-rock fans, enough dynamics for the indie-rock kids and enough 70's riffing for the guy in the moth-eaten Sabbath shirt. Whilst the aforementioned opener is a joy, the following two tracks stampede past with similar screeching psychedelia and furious rock posturing, so much so that they almost bleed into one another and become a rather dull extended jam. Where Kinski succeed however is pulling something exciting and inventive from post-rock's somewhat limited field of vision. The nine minute 'The Snowy Parts Of Scandinavia' sees slight, gently throbbing guitar notes emerge from glacial atmospherics only to be shot out of the air by chaotic noise and sporadic cymbal crashes before descending into a Sonic Youth charge littered with feedback screeches and assorted noise. It's a dense, freely structured journey with no constraints, unpredictable and less laboured than its more 'traditional' neighbours. The organic feel continues throughout - the fleeting raindrop notes that herald the beginning of 'Edge Set' and the clean, tranquil 'Waka Nusa'. 'Alpine Static' conforms to the unpredictable and freeform connotations of its name and ends up with a strikingly fresh sound despite its influences.
Instrumental post-rock relies upon atmosphere, passion and suggestion to create some sort of emotional purity, and while Kinski aren't greatly idiosyncratic, their mixture of psychedelia, noise and indie-rock dynamics still remains a surprising listen. While there's a noticeable over-reliance on antiquated classic rock bravado, there's plenty of space to explore here to keep the most discerning noise-rock fan interested.
6Jesus Chigley's Score