iamamiwhoami
Kin


3.5
great

Review

by Nick Butler EMERITUS
July 4th, 2012 | 58 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A glistening waterfront with an ocean of potential under it.

iamamiwhoami has done very well at marketing herself on a relatively small budget, using YouTube and blogs to carefully build up anticipation and exposure for this album by releasing a new video every fortnight, effectively releasing the entire album brick by brick while also providing a short film (included here on a DVD bonus disc) for fans to piece together as well, giving them another reason to keep coming back. Unfortunately, this talking point is interesting enough to be in danger of overshadowing the music itself.

With that in mind, I think it's important to say - for the benefit of anybody else that feels a little intimidated by that release schedule as much as anything - that I came into kin completely blind, having not heard any of it before, nor seen any of the videos, or even read any reviews. It's important because iamamiwhoami has, whether consciously and deliberately or otherwise, tried to subvert the entire experience of listening to an album by encouraging her fans to take in each song for two weeks before moving on to the next. If that doesn't seem odd, imagine watching a 70 minute film over the course of four weeks. Sure, the comparison is a little flawed because, by and large, albums aren't a narrative in the traditional sense, but they still have a mood, a contour, and a flow, and you simply can't get a feel for that when you're taking breathers so often. For those who've followed her YouTube exploits for their duration, their experience has had as much in common with the average album experience as watching the original TV run of The Sopranos has in common with watching Goodfellas.

In itself, this is fine. The financial state of the music industry is such that anything that challenges the established methods of distribution and marketing effectively is to be congratulated - but it's just a challenge, not a revolution, and kin is still going to be judged on all the old points.

Sadly, and predictably, it's on those points where kin lets itself down a little. Taken in one sitting, it's a little on the disjointed side, and the sequencing doesn't make the most of its strengths, making some of the repetition seem like a lack of ideas rather than thematic consistency - and "sever", as an opening track, seems determined to give you the impression that iamamiwhoami sounds exactly like Cerys Matthews of Catatonia. She doesn't - thank God - but first impressions are hard to shift, so a it takes a few tracks for that enormously unflattering comparison to go away.

Otherwise, though, kin is a great success. Surprisingly for an album that was released in the way this was, it's much more about its sound than its songs, and as such feels hyper-modern; it slots in right alongside Visions by Grimes and feels like part of a general trend toward shimmering, dreamy synth textures that's spread far enough to make cloud rap a legitimate genre. Bjork has been mentioned by many people as a similar artist, as have Portishead, and there is truth there (as long as we're clear about it being Third-era Portishead and Vespertine-era Bjork), but the artist it reminded me most often is Royksopp - kin takes the most un-dance moments of Melody A.M. and stretches them into songs, while piling on more layers to make the whole thing more immersive. Those extra layers draw from all sorts of sources - within the first two tracks alone you can hear elements swiped from Kraftwerk's Die Mensch-Maschine and Nobuo Uematsu's soundtrack for Final Fantasy VII, and The Knife are a crucial influence throughout.

It's a shame that the sequencing and the overall flow isn't quite right, because in all other regards, this is a beautiful album to stick on and just drift away to - this is music of impressive texture and depth. The delirious reaction to this record in some quarters suggests that iamamiwhoami has already made the leap from 'artist to watch' to a forerunner, but kin also speaks of mounds of untapped potential to me; I'm genuinely excited to see what she'll come up with next. This is a highlight of 2012, but if she stays on this path, the next one could well be a highlight of the decade.

And all this from an album produced and co-written by a man that has toured as the piano player in Travis. Travis. What a weird world we live in.



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user ratings (111)
Chart.
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Rev
July 4th 2012


9428 Comments


Great review. I absolutely love this

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
July 4th 2012


15737 Comments


that summary is a goddamn metaphor

Digging: Ricky Eat Acid - Three Love Songs

captaincrunch11
July 4th 2012


1214 Comments


Woah this is really good

fuckthatnoise
July 4th 2012


1479 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

album's okay.

taylormemer
July 4th 2012


4917 Comments


orly

fuckthatnoise
July 4th 2012


1479 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

honestly just kinda makes me wanna listen to bjork instead. for what it is though, and especially within the context of the synthpop genre, it's definitely an above average album.

RosaParks
July 4th 2012


14912 Comments


loved this

conradtao
Emeritus
July 4th 2012


2090 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

bbboooororrrininiiinng

DoubtGin
July 4th 2012


6752 Comments


best

conradtao
Emeritus
July 4th 2012


2090 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

"Play" and "Goods" are both very good. Too bad the rest of it is weak without the videos to back it up

FelixCulpa
July 4th 2012


1240 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Liking this.

LE0Night
July 4th 2012


36 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Really, the Björk and Portishead comparisons are tenuous at best.

RosaParks
July 4th 2012


14912 Comments


"Too bad the rest of it is weak without the videos to back it up"
i felt this way at first but i did listen to the album more than once and it grew on me like hell

LifeAsAChipmunk
July 4th 2012


4854 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

whoisayiam

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sd6pRP081cs

LifeAsAChipmunk
July 4th 2012


4854 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0



Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
July 4th 2012


31215 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Really, the Björk and Portishead comparisons are tenuous at best.


Don't hear Portishead at all, but Bjork definitely


Digging: LV and Joshua Idehen - Islands

WitchesCanDance
July 4th 2012


2 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Great stuff!

SeaAnemone
July 4th 2012


20370 Comments


Yeah this is actually really good*








*I hate Bjork

Digging: Holy Sons - Lost Decade II

PuddlesPuddles
July 4th 2012


4773 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

You don't hate Bjork

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
July 4th 2012


31215 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I hear even deaf people love her



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