Cover Story [Issue
...Until We Felt Red
CD Velour )
Looking back through almost any musicians (or bands) catalog, one
will typically find that the early material is generally superior to later work.
Though there have been many debatable excpeptions to this trend, most creative
types tend to repeat themselves or become complacent.
However, maverick guitarist Kaki King shows early signs of bucking such a career
path. Never one to rest on her laurels, King is an artistic chameleon who somehow
becomes more comfortable with each new transformation. On her third outing, .
. . Until We Felt Red, King continues to build on the lustrous career she began
with her debut, Everybody Loves You and expanded on her sophomore effort, Legs
to Make Us Longer. The album is appropriately titled because the color red is
often associated with intense passion, which flows out of each performance King
delivers. From the lilting, breezy atmosphere of the title track to the haunting
mood of Goby, King delivers a heartleft odyssey of mood and experience.
King muses, Red can imply so many very different things sexually, politically,
and emotionally. The essence of this album we do things until we felt red.
In recruiting producer John McEntire (Stereolab, The Sea and Cake), she found
a kindred spirit with whom she could forge new sonic terrain. Always eager to
experiment with various tunings, techniques, and tones, King and McEntire jointly
experimented with augemting her usual sparse acoustic sound with electric guitar,
slide, bass, drums, keyboards, horns, and samples. She explains, The writing
process was done long before the album was made. There was a good amount of creative
thinking and expansion in the studio. Most of these songs began as solo guitar
pieces. Some were older and I never felt that they were presented in the right
way through solo guitar, so I had a lot of material going into it. It was all
solo and so what we did is, instead of worrying so much about the guitar sounds,
I said, Lets see how this song sounds on a baritone guitar. Lets
see how this song sounds on electric. When you hear a sound in your head,
you go and find it. There was a lot of that process, finding the right sound for
the lap steel [guitar] or moving the song down in key to put on a baritone guitar.
Known for her uncanny fingerpicking ability and percussive style she developed
performing in the New Yorks subways, King has radically stretched the palette
of colors and textures on her latest CD. The most stunning difference is the prominent
appearance of her her silky soprano throughout many tracks. Within the first moments
of Yellowcake, Kings rolling guitar line and ethereal instrumentation
support a blanket of whispery vocals conjuring swirling melodies and lyrics. She
adds that McEntire balanced her more finicky tendencies and went for vibe over
absolute perfection. In discussing her relative ease with adding singing duties
to her growing list of talents, King asserts, It was a very natural process.
Of course, Im a person who will sit and agonize over every sound, every
vocal part, every little bit. And John is very even-tempered and would say,
It sounds good, whats the problem? He was really like a therapist
in that he would make me see clearly that in a lot of the things we were doing
were just very arbitrary. I realized if it sounds good, dont worry about
it. It doesnt have to imply anything or mean anything.
Ranging from the stirring reflection of Jessica, the otherworldly
presense of Ahuvati, and the pulsing mystery of Soft Shoulder,
the artists emotional heat radiates and shifts from one moment to the next.
Throughout the collection, Kaki King paints vivid images with shifting moods until
the listener feels red and wants to make the journey all over again.
...Until We Felt Red