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King Midas Sound review – heady cocktail of melancholy amid sepulchral sonic wreckage | Musique Non Stop

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Sunday, November 1, 2015

King Midas Sound review – heady cocktail of melancholy amid sepulchral sonic wreckage

St John at Hackney, London
Kevin Martin’s collaboration with Roger Robinson, Kiki Hitomi and Christian Fennesz mixes up aching melancholy with icy soundscapes to addictive effect

This 300-year-old church is so densely fogged with dry ice tonight that it’s hard to see further than a few feet, so the backlit figures on stage are never more than silhouettes. The accompanying sense of dislocation and isolation perfectly suits the music; the steroidal dancehall that Kevin Martin composes as the Bug might be muscular enough to level a tower block, but the ambient torch songs of King Midas Sound – his after-dark collaboration with vocalists Roger Robinson and Kiki Hitomi and, on their latest album, Edition 1, Austrian noise maverick Christian Fennesz – prove his most intense, most enveloping yet.

They open with cacophonic white noise, Fennesz conjuring the strangulated wheeze of a broken Tardis with his guitar, before songs begin to take shape amid the sonic wreckage. It makes sense that we’re in a church tonight, because the love eulogised in these songs is by turns holy, sepulchral, magical and damned. On Mysteries, with an aching croon suggesting Gregory Isaacs, Robinson ponders the insoluble puzzle of love; on Melt, he’s sorting through bittersweet memories – “the small tings I remember / the small tings I mustn’t think about” – as a strobe light pulses in the dry-ice haze, as if to prove his broken heart still beats. Like Beth Gibbons or Blonde Redhead’s Kazu Makino, Hitomi deftly underplays the melancholy within her songs to communicate how overpowering it is, especially on the bleakly beautiful On My Mind.

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by Stevie Chick via Electronic music | The Guardian