Review Summary: Very post, very industrial, very wonky, quite banging
The place is the doorway of your dwelling, the time is right in the middle of your daily 16 hour visual novel session. You groggily step out to restock on vegan Hot Pockets. A cargo truck flies past you, literally, because things are also cyberpunk right now so it’s actually a cyber-cargo truck. You slowly look up to the massive city floating above you and let the rays of light barely streaking through it gradually come into view as the requisite twangy modulated cyber-synth pads and cyber-pretty normal choir vocals match your move, coordinated by the occasional unsheathing of a daikatana. Kai Whiston’s About To Make You Hear His Album, Kai Whiston Bitch
Just as “bitch” booms out in your mind, the killdrones pop out. You don’t have enough cyber-PensiveGazeCoin to be staring at the upper city that long. They menacingly edge closer, a prerecorded message buzzing from their speakers like a rattlesnake rattles its tail:
“Kai Whiston is one of those sonic explorers mapping the post, industrial, etc. territory of intriguingly banged-together objects, rumbling low end, informed flourishes and slick production known and loved as ‘deconstructed club music’. Steadily hotness-ing as it's been this side of the ‘10s thanks to cool hip releases by the likes of Andy Stott
, Sd Laika
, fossil records actually date the first successful settlements to the decade's earliest years.
These intrepid predecessors may also have been the harbingers of doomsday as foretold by Mayan prophecy. Case in point: the most notable early releases. Jam City
’s Classical Curves
？ Came out in 2012. James Ferraro
？ Also came out in 2012. Think about it.”
You bolt for it, sliding over cars, pushing through crowds and backflipping across buildings, before making it to a narrow alleyway just out of sight. Ducked in a side alley behind a garbage can, you hear the drones buzz by. After the noise dies down, you look up and see that I’ve decided not to continue this exposition because the rest of the intro isn’t that cyberpunk, nor is the rest of the album for that matter. Cinematic cyberpunk is just one shiny bauble among too many for me to be bothered to painstakingly single out each and every one of them.
If there’s anything you can count on through these 11 tracks besides a level of self-indulgence Mr. Whiston himself will readily admit to in promotional blurbs, it’s that they've got something weird to show you, or are off to go get it. As expected from an album made after the end of the world, Kai Whiston Bitch is a trove of scavengings, a trench coat of hard basslines, frantic percussion, pitch-shifted vocals and open soundscapes lined with an arsenal of oft-nostalgic oddities, wares offered to any wandering survivors of our postpostmodern cultural armageddon. Anything from slithery zither( ？)ies a la Harry Partch
, to dubstep wobbles, to Eurodance rave chords to poignant guitar noodlings is fair game for blowing up, re-routing, sublating, sneaking through, comm-jacking or unceremoniously dropping.
We get to the heart of the matter: although I’ve wasted a lot of words, the question remains as to whether this album is any good. I can say with absolute, complete, unwavering certainty that it is pretty good. What you say on the other hand, would probably depend on your tolerance for listening to this sort of stuff for prolonged periods of time.
On their own, all of the tracks are very competently slapped-together, with the thoroughly club “Lux", aggro “Brain Fritta” and token long song “For *** Sake” being perhaps the most clear examples of the man’s producing chops. However, I wouldn't fault you for listening to the whole thing in one go and thinking it loses steam towards the end. Really, if you lose your focus and find it all melding together into one hazy banger-like sensory stimulation, it simply highlights the reality that mankind didn't evolve to parse 11 consecutive tracks of unrelentingly wonky not-club genre-benders. Still, it's worth a listen for just about any fan of weird electronic music.