Kinski Alpine Static

[Sub Pop; 2005]

Styles: new weird america, free-drone, hard rock
Others: Charalambides, Keith Fullerton Whitman, Black Sabbath

For a largely instrumental, experimental rock group, finding new musical routes to traverse can be a daunting task to say the least; but with Alpine Static, Kinski proves that just such a task can be accomplished. Previous releases have presented the group as purveyors of a strain of psychedelic space rock most akin to the more exploratory passages of Sonic Youth songs, which has made them favorites of a small subset of underground rock fans. While many of the elements of that early sound still exist on this new effort, their songs have become more unabashedly aggressive and correspondingly charged with a heretofore less apparent love for heavier rock, and even metal.

Without any hesitation, "Hot Stenographer" kicks off the proceedings with an electrified shot of riff rockin' worthy of a comparison to Black Sabbath, as well as more obvious krautrock touchstones like Harmonia or Neu. Following a brief guitar intro, the band launches into this charging number which could serve well as a soundtrack to a montage of demolition derby highlights (possibly intercut with some footage of an attractive court clerk?). As the album progresses, the songs do expand structurally and reincorporate elements of the more spacey meanderings that a fan would expect, but never does it fully lose the thrust of rock energy apparent in the opening. "Passed Out on Your Lawn" segues from a hushed lullaby of a beginning into a full-throttle rock freakout in just a couple of minutes. The ambient soundscape opening of "The Snowy Parts of Scandinavia" quickly becomes a screeching guitar feedback attack. Of course, Kinski does find room to offer more contemplative, droning tracks with "All Your Kids Have Turned to Static" and the delicate closer "Waka Nusa." While they haven't completely redrawn themselves, Alpine Static does signify a step forward for Kinski with its unashamed embrace of guitar rock.

1. Hot Stenographer
2. The Wives of Artie Shaw
3. Hiding Drugs in the Temple (Part 2)
4. The Party Which You Know Will Be Heavy
5. Passed Out on Your Lawn
6. All Your Kids Have Turned to Static
7. The Snowy Parts of Scandinavia
8. Edge Set
9. Waka Nusa

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