Kinski - "Don't Climb On And Take The Holy Water"
(Strange Attractors Audio House 2004, SAAH022)

Uploaded to Aural Innovations: April 2004

On Don’t Climb on and Take the Holy Water, Kinski — better known for its acid-styled punk drone assault — sets the controls for the heart of the sun. The Floydian reference is well-deserved on this set of dreamy, ethereal excursions into crushed velvet atmospheres. Lucy Atkinson (bass, synthesizer), Chris Martin (guitar, synthesizer, bells) and Matthew Reid-Schwartz (guitar, flute, voice) navigate their way through billowy cloudscapes and tranquil oceanic vistas that bear a striking resemblance to the aforementioned Floyd (particularly around the Ummagumma/Atom Heart Mother period) but also to middle period Popol Vuh (especially, though not exclusively, the Werner Herzog soundtracks) as well as Agitation Free’s brilliant 2nd. The 30-minute epic “The Misprint in the Gutenberg Print Shop” is easily the cornerstone of the album, with its airy guitars and droney flute quietly meandering through a cinematic landscape of unobtrusive synth pads and electronic embellishments. Only the chaotic coda gives any hint of what Kinski is capable of in its other punkier incarnation. A close parallel here might be Can’s impressionistic masterpiece “Bel Air” from the Future Days album. It’s quite an impressive exploration of the subtle nuances of guitar timbre and tonal colorations, and it washes over you like a sea of bliss beneath a rainbow-hued sky. And all of this improvised too, which makes it that much more impressive. Each piece carefully carves out its own sonic domain while still managing to maintain a similar continuity of sound and expression. So while “Bulky Knit Cheerleader Sweater” revs up the guitars and white noise electronics ala Faust, “There’s Nothing Sexy about Time” effortlessly drifts across minimalist territory more akin to Philip Glass or Steve Reich. All in all, Don’t Climb on and Take the Holy Water is thoroughly engaging, and as an exploration of timbre, dynamics, and tonal harmony within the traditional framework of rock instrumentation (i.e., guitar, bass, etc.), it’s a remarkably successful display of the possibilities of collective synergy over individual technique and artistic expression over musical exhibitionism. Hopefully they’ll continue in this direction.

For more information you visit the Kinski web site at:
Don't Climb On And Take The Holy Water is distributed by Strange Attractors Audio House. You can visit their web site at:
Email at:
Contact via snail mail c/o Strange Attractors Audio House; PO Box 13007; Portland, OR 97213.

Reviewed by Charles Van de Kree

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