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A Sheer Blitzkrieg

Words: Shawn Telford

Image: Michael Lavine

Features Image

Currently, there are two Chris Martins making music news: one is the frontman for the overrated wet noodle band Coldplay, the other is the multi-talented frontman for Kinski.

After six years, four full-length albums, countless EPs and compilations, this Seattle four-piece has improved and deepened their already singular sound. With the release of “Alpine Static,” the band goes even further into already familiar territory, blending ‘70s psychedelic influences with sweeping heavy metal guitars. Kinski quilts soundscapes evocative of interstellar travel, the kind that propels consciousness so far out that it’s actually in—yes, those cavernous regions at the back of the mind where language is naught, impulses reign and the soul is struggling to understand that perpetual ache. Kinski is both the question and the answer.

“I hope it’s emotion in some way,” reveals Martin in a recent phone interview. “The goal is to be exhilarating, have it be [that] driving in your car fast on a Friday night kind of feel. I always like music that is sort of moving or melancholy. I hope people get some kind of reaction from it.”

“Chris,” I want to tell him, “You modest something-or-other, the first half of your new album behaves like a meth-infected Frankenstein leading a blitzkrieg on my senses. It makes me want to smash my air guitar into my air amp, then light the whole thing on fire. Of course it’s successful!”

When asked about the next record, Martin says he hopes to experiment with some unexpected left-hand turns, though he says, “We don’t know what those are yet.” For him, the process begins at home, fiddling around with the electric guitar, “tuning the guitar to a weird tuning and having a weird sound come out of that—and then just basing the song around the sound or the tuning itself.”

“It’s a process that hasn’t changed much over the years; [songs] used to take a long time to come together. On ‘Alpine Static’ the first half is a newer style of our stuff. Those songs are more direct and came together a little quicker. The second half of the record is sort of ideas, riffs, pieces of songs that I bring into the band and then we all just kind of jam on them, improv over the top of them, and then we end up playing that stuff out live for six months or so before we record it.”

The audience plays a large role in shaping Kinski's cinematic forays: “You re-hear through other people’s ears what is kind of making sense and what isn’t.” Ultimately the band reserves final say for themselves. Sometimes, we love a part and the audience doesn’t like it and it stays in there anyway.” And that is the essence of Kinski, the unknown, sometimes smoothly uneasy while other times not—but that, my friends, is the beauty of it.

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