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Airs Above Your Station

Kinski

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Album Review

Kinski's excellently named Airs Above Your Station picks up where Be Gentle With the Warm Turtle left off, mixing alternately buzzing and shimmering guitars and subtle electronic flourishes into eight epics that bridge post-rock and space rock. As with its previous work, on this album Kinski's style is remarkably linear; most of the tracks embellish one or two themes apiece instead of linking different but related ideas. Sometimes this works: the hypnotic, 11-minute "Schedule for Using Pillows & Beanbags" features a delicate guitar line that hardens into a see-sawing riff that repeats over and over, while hissing synths and drums fall in and out of the mix. "Waves of Second Guessing" also makes good use of Kinski's approach, pairing five minutes of lighter-than-air guitar drone with a surprisingly heavy finale. Just as often, though, this elongated, streamlined style falls flat and tends toward predictability; tracks like "Semaphore" and "Your Lights Are (Out Or) Burning Badly" have compelling moments, but adhere too closely to the band's "long stretches of quiet mixed with sudden, ferocious explosions" formula. Airs Above Your Station does feature some attempts to break away from that template, including a couple of songs from Chris Martin's Ampbuzz project. The heavily Eno-inspired "Think I Blew It" and "Blew It Again" are pretty, bittersweet soundscapes that do more with less than some of the album's other, longer pieces. "Rhode Island Freakout" is Airs Above Your Station's most immediately accessible track, a Daydream Nation homage mixing bludgeoning but catchy riffs and rhythms à la "Total Trash" and Lucy Atkinson's deadpan, Kim Gordon-esque vocals. It's not an especially original song, but it is livelier and more immediate than most of the album; too often, Airs Above Your Station feels scattered and fades into the background too easily. However, Kinski's best moments show enough promise to suggest that once it incorporates its space rock, Sonic Youth, and analog synth fetishes more concisely and creatively, it will do something truly amazing.

Biography

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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Airs Above Your Station, Kinski
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