WHAT THE COVER LOOKS LIKE:
WHAT THE RELEASE NOTES SAY:
Kevin Hayes, Kirk Marrison and Clark Rehberg III began collaborating under the KILN moniker in central Michigan in the early 1990s. The trio released its self-titled debut EP on the Roomtone label in 1997, further developing their sound — via naturalist recording techniques and nascent digital workstation methods — across subsequent releases in the early 2000s. KILN signed to Ghostly International for 2004 LP, Sunbox, which established the label’s ambient “SMM” tributary, going on to reach their most consistent stretch from 2007’s Dusker through 2013’s meadow:watt. They make their long-awaited return to Ghostly with Astral Welder, a fizzing, electro-charged gallery of propulsion and abraded tone, offering eleven rotating constellations of force, groove and color that infuse the listener with a buoyant sense of now.
As a means to refresh their sonic troika, the pieces that make up Astral Welder forgo the standard KILN approach to composition in favor of a more ambitious, intuitive strategy rooted in strict 16-and 32-bar loop forms. The collection was incepted as densely-layered loops employing the use of self-sourced found sound and environmental recordings, then expanded through more traditional multi-tracking methods and instrumentation.
“We used this loop cycle format as a new process to see if we could make full gardens of sensible noise in a truncated format, knowing full well we'd employ standard arranging formats later,” KILN explains. “Each song was built in a repeating cycle which generally lasted from thirty to sixty seconds. Sounds were stacked on this cycle until they hit maximum density, then converted and exported into a traditional linear timeline — at which point we made decisions on how to curate either a cogent sculpture or a longer, sprawling array.”
Those decisions ultimately yielded KILN’s most adventurous music to date. Astral Welder brings a new clarity and humanity to the panoramic guitars, elemental squelch and sinuous rhythms evolved over previous work. Consider the melodic sentimentality of “Oceantumblers” (built around a 35-year-old recording of a broken guitar), the music-box tenderness of “Open Field” or the wink-nudge playfulness of “Cartoon Garden,” which channels elements of alt-pop and hip-hop to forge something distinctly different from either.
KILN’s first LP since 2013 summons the spirits of a world that is long gone but ever-present, combining castoffs and cutouts of the digital age (mothballed electronics, bedroom-recorded cassettes), domestic detritus (cast-iron toys, vintage skateboard wheels) and vestiges of the natural environment (decayed birch logs, tuned rock piles) to create timeless, richly textured soundscapes radiating the warmth of golden-hour sunlight.
OUR MISSION STATEMENT GOES SOMETHING LIKE THIS
Lazy Days, Hazy Moments & Dancing to a Slower Groove