One third of the British noise/dub syndicate King Midas Sound, Kiki Hitomi has struck out on her own before over the past decade, as well as working with some fairly illustrious collaborators in the world of left-field electronic music, including Ricardo Villalobos and Shackleton.
But Karma No Kusari, released at the end of the summer on the weirdly awesome web label JahTari Records (which I only discovered upon writing this post!), is her first proper full-length offering as a solo artist. Over the course of its fewer than 30 minutes run time, we are lead on a disorienting a jaunt through a funhouse of post-millennial dub, lo-fi melodies, NES bleeps and flea market bargain bin samples. Hitomi sings and rap over the hodgepodge of sounds in a combination of Japanese and heavily accented English, creating something that feels immediate as it is unique. Oh, and she designed the artwork as well.
Youtube was the only place I could find the stream, but it’ all here:
The UK-based trio of Kevin Martin (who also makes excellent records as The Bug) and vocalists Kiki Hitomi and Roger Robison have been recording as King Midas Sound since at least 2007, releasing sleek modern dub with a distinctive edge of dystopic urban dread via several channels—most notably the highly respected Hyperdub. And as for Christian Fennesz, there probably isn’t much left to say that hasn’t already said about the Austrian guitarist, whose sublime creations of ambient/noise/avant-garde/glitch, including the 2001 landmark Endless Summer, have been challenging listeners since 1997.
Given both acts approach to creating atmosphere and space, this collaboration almost seems obvious, at least in retrospect. Fennesz and KMS play expertly toward each other’s strengths, and in a lot of ways Edition 1 sounds exactly like one might expect: digital dread with a twist of trip-hop shrouded in a fog of soft static-y electric noise. Its exquisite background music to be sure, but listen closely and you’ll find yourself submersed in a richly textured ambient experience as multi-faceted as the modern London metropolitan area which it so beautifully evokes. Stand out tracks: “On My Mind”and “Our Love”