mánudagur, apríl 23, 2007

Kimono - The Videos

"Japanese policeman" Video by director Ragnar Hansson

Japanese policeman Lyrics:
japanese policeman living in
scandinavia. this is not a hospital show.
this is not a lawyer show.
julie andrews opened her mouth and piles of
overweight men fell out.
he solves the crimes you read about in the
papers unbeknownst to his crowds of admirers
just don't make him mad he'll beat up your dad
and humiliate you

"Aftermath" Video by director Birgir Pall Audunsson

Aftermath Lyrics:
she’s coming home tonight having dealt the final blow
forgetting half and half of what she doesn’t even know
she picks at me for hours with those words she doesn’t like
her freedom is an outrage – in her voice is discontent
she screams and takes a fit when we need money for the rent
and fate is never equal to the money when it’s spent
try evil for a laugh. we’re dancing. tables are arranged.
she’s lost her contact now she thinks her family is deranged
she takes the blue before the red. it happens every day.
talking with her’s not too easy when she is aware
that everyone around her sees the truth but doesn’t care
and if she smartens up it won’t be right for me to stay
this two-tone world with it’s paper skies
we tear a hole to watch the sun burn holes into our eyes
our retinas scar and so we learn to stand out of the way
i’m swimming back to shore because the derigible sank
Roland gave me courage when he said i was a tank
i know you won’t believe me if it matters and it may.

kimono released their first album ("mineur-aggressif") in Europe in 2003 on the Bad Taste record label that was formed by the Sugarcubes in the late eighties and is home to other Icelandic acts like Sigur Rós. The album was recorded by another Icelander, the noise artist Curver. Following the making of that first album, kimono and Curver made another psyche-dub album together and formed a studio in the local artist's squat in Reykjavik, which sadly only existed for a year and a half before it was torn down a month ago. It was in that "Klink+Bank" studio that kimono recorded their latest album "Arctic Death Ship" (ADS). It is their second international release on Bad Taste Ltd.

The Reykjavik music scene is a varied and lively one, and in the past four
years, kimono has become about as popular as you can get without leaving Iceland for the bigger world. The plan to move to Berlin has been a long standing one that came from Alex (guitar/vocals) travelling with a friend's punk band through squatted houses around Germany. Both Dori (bass) and Alex have both been studying at the Art Academy in Iceland and Dori will continue studying painting here at UdK. kimono's sound is informed by plenty of different styles of music since every member of the group comes from a different background musically. Alex has studied electronic music and modern composition, so he brings an interest in minimalist stuff like Steve Reich and La Monte Young to the table. Both Gylfi and Alex have been very interested in avant-guitar rock like Polvo and Television. Both Dori and Kjartan (drums) are into German bands like Neu! and the Can, which has a large effect on the band's groove (as evidenced in songs like Red Army on ADS that combines a stream of consciousness Krautrock-esque beginning with a jagged Chapel Hill guitar orgy in the end).

While ADS jumps around a lot in style, certain ideas are constant throughout the album. The songs are always built on a kernel that later is later either reduced to nothing or disappeared completely. Pop arrangements are avoided - but pop sensibility, in terms of the length of ideas/riffs introduced and repetition of structures, is fully embraced.
Lyrically, the album deals with a range of subjects from American hegemonic isolationism (Standing Wave) to family dysfuntionality due to anorexia (Aftermath), teenage marriage (Children of God), and gender dysphoria (Hyla Grace). The album is split in two by an homage to fellow Icelandic trailblazers Ghostigital (Hlé) and then continues with a mirror image of the same themes as the first half from a different angle.

It's like John Lennon said about his concept album with his wife. "You might think it's a load of old cock man, but that's your hangup."

Since the release of ADS, the album has received five star reviews from all of the major Icelandic newspapers (of which there are three). kimono now has an over-inflated sense of itself, which it plans to spread in its entirety around Europe while they write and record their third album in Berlin. We freely admit that we're a bunch of over-educated guitar geeks. We are also prophets who have seen that the message of rock has lost its way. We have come to subvert the current system of pop music that exploits youth rather than empowering it.

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