Kinski, in the simplest terms, are sort of like America’s answer to Acid Mothers Temple. Everything the Seattle trio records – from galactic guitar maelstroms to serene Jupiter sunrise lullabies – drones, convulses, and echoes with an extravagant expansiveness that seems as effortless as it does endless. Space – for both these bands – is the place, offering the ultimate aesthetic infinity in which to fly, float, or explode, activities in which the groups quite gloriously engaged throughout last autumn’s split Sub Pop LP. The co-authored tracks, especially, sprawled with a cosmic cohesion, the intertwining strands of interplanetary feedback sewing together the seamless psych union, proving that great minds indeed do rock alike.
But, much like Kawabata Makoto and Co.’s latest extra-terrestrial trance chant, Mantra of Love, Kinski, too, are capable of much more than just hyper-kinetic rocket launches, and Don’t Climb On and Take the Holy Water – an odd amalgam of studio outtakes and live improvisations – documents some of these slower, softer, and stranger deep space voyages. According to the liner notes, Kinski, on their various nights off, enjoy infiltrating local dive clubs under the code name Herzog where, thus freed of any “rockist” audience expectations, they transmit secret frequencies and dark-side-of-the-moon explorations via an arsenal of pedals, bells, flutes, and oscillators. Don’t Climb On sees Kinski pick and glide their way through five uneasy pieces in about 45 minutes, with the vast, chance masterpiece “The Misprint in the Gutenberg Print Shop” engulfing two-thirds of this. Recorded entirely live at the I-Spy in Seattle, the half-hour track seethes dimly to life with nearly subliminal, Tangerine Dreamy keyboards, then gradually bleeds into reverb-soaked flute meditations, traced with distant, dancing fretwork. Minutes ebb away while the electricity flows and bleeps until gradually an upwelling of punctuated distortion capsizes the calm with a screeching tumult. Suddenly the crowd claps, and you do too.
As a live recording, it’s severely impressive, and sounds far more like an obsessively premeditated studio creation than anything on Kinski’s last official album, Airs Above Your Station, with its mixing board-enhanced blasts of white-hot flight, fight, and firepower. But speed and (anti-) gravity come with a comedown, clearly, and Don’t Climb On shows Kinski can thrive in the afterglow, mapping the midnight drift of orbiting crafts and melancholic meteoroids. Or, in the simplest terms, this record captures a somewhat unedited glimpse into Kinksi’s core, illuminating them as a band still in love with messy jamming, and the visceral thrill of making cool noises with good friends.
By Britt Brown