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Alpine Static

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Album Review

Kinski will never run out of bitchin' titles. Proven: 1999's Space Launch for Frenchie, the 2003 LP Airs Above Your Station, and Alpine Static in 2005. The rhythms are more deliberate in parts of Static — occasionally there's a whiff of stoner rock, or maybe Burning Brides without vocals — but the consistent pace of "Hot Stenographer" and "Hiding Drugs in the Temple, Pt. 2" suits the Seattle quartet as well as their documented spaced-out side. In fact, "Hiding Drugs" effectively does both. It rocks out with its Spock out, crafting otherworldly guitar tones to go with its frenetic, big rock snare drum. There's no question of Sonic Youth's continued influence on Kinski. But Alpine Static is a progression within the context of the band's own discography, and that's important. Their 2003 collaboration with Acid Mothers Temple didn't have a cool title, but that split LP's "Fell Asleep on Your Lawn" was one of their strongest-ever tracks, and it resurfaces here (retitled "Passed Out on Your Lawn") for the benefit of everyone. Its initial introspection splinters into squalling noise and a pulsing beat, only to have the rhythm drop out completely. Then a severe echo is applied to the guitar, and it could be a muscle car revving through the world's largest speaker cabinet. But things get downright creepy at song's end, as noises like metallic whales or faraway bus horns marinate in the reverb. Kinski have gotten really great at sculpting these multi-part epics, mixing the weird with the soft and pushing it all out onto the screaming distortion plateau. But that restlessness is nowhere on "All Your Kids Have Turned to Static," which features the flute of Matthew Reid Schwartz and generally meditates on one gently melodic theme. Closer "Waka Nusa" is quieter too, with its plucked acoustic guitar figure and the hum of crickets and bullfrogs. Of course, there are also those shards of feedback exploding periodically during the initial strains of "The Snowy Parts of Scandinavia," so don't think Alpine Static goes out with a whisper.


Formed: 1998 in Seattle, WA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

While debating the merits of analog vs. digital recording in a Seattle pub, guitarist Chris Martin and bassist Lucy Atkinson were interrupted by the bartender, drummer Dave Weeks. He said, definitively, that analog was superior; thus Kinski came into being. This same spontaneity would come to define their multi-layered noise rock, reminiscent of Sonic Youth at their most experimental. Kinski began playing live in 1998. By the summer of 1999, the trio had released its first record, Space Launch for...
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Alpine Static, Kinski
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