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Space Launch for Frenchie (Re-mastered, Bonus Tracks)

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Album Review

Kinski's debut release, done when the group was still the original trio, finds the Seattle band working out its considerable space/drone rock jones. Including a cover of Spacemen 3's legendary "Losing Touch with My Mind" as the final song certainly makes for a declaration of allegiance. It's one of the better versions of the song that's out there, actually, with some great, explosive guitar from Chris Martin (though maybe his singing could be a little more energetic, but that's a quibble). If Space Launch for Frenchie is more a genre exercise than a full statement of intent, it's a good genre exercise nonetheless. The members may have listened to more than their fair share of Neu!, Can, and other Krautrock releases, not to mention plenty of shoegazing and bliss-out, but they know how to put it together very well. "Floundering & Fluctuating" certainly sounds like a perfect balance between Neu!'s brand of motorik and Stereolab's revival of same — and it's all the better for it, especially at the tape-melting ending. The low-key start to "Staring" sets the mood for everything right, soft notes echoing into the distance, whooshing feedback in the background, soft rhythms murkily setting the pace. That the song suddenly shifts to a massive noise fest while keeping the head-nodding pace feels like just the right contrast. Elsewhere there's plenty of straightforward subtlety that doesn't completely disappear in the wind — "Jetstream," with its waltz time pace and gently pretty start, makes for a very sweet epic in its own way, warm rather than overpowering. Kinski came into its own with Be Gentle with the Warm Turtle, but Space Launch for Frenchie still makes for a reasonable 45 minutes of listening. [The 2005 reissue of Space Launch includes Kinski's original four-song demo — with an early version of "Floundering & Fluctuating" — and "She Always Made Us Work Like Dogs," an outtake from the Space Launch sessions.]


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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Space Launch for Frenchie (Re-mastered, Bonus Tracks), Kinski
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