Kirkis: vide

- Renaissance-man Kirkis has just released his first official album vide via his own imprint, Moded. Previously he has released a number of singles, EPs, and compilation tracks on labels such as Eglo Records, Fresh Selections and Wondercore Island. If this wasn’t enough he has toured, and written with members of Haitus Kayote, played in Kirin J Callinan's band, and contributed to Floating Points' most recent album, Mojave Desert.

The album was recorded within a concise three month period, following a year's worth of touring with Floating Points in 2016. Although the press releases and media coverage categorized vide as his 'coldwave' record, I find this tag totally misleading. As someone presumptuous enough to say they’re well-versed in newwave and all the other waves, it sounds totally unlike any record of that ilk that I’ve heard.

Okay, maybe it resembles coldwave outwardly in some of its instrumentation – murky synths, bass guitars, drum machines and theatrical vocals, but it's at these points that Kirkis begins to diverge. The closest thing to icy-cold synthwave (in my opinion) are the beatless, modular-synth driven opener The vide and No Dreams.

I dig tracks like the free-wheeling The Fever, with its delicate, phased-strings reminding me of the lush arrangements of Arthur Verocai. These same liquid-strings appear on many of the albums songs, being used to great effect on The Glass Rose, for example. Cry Joy Lost Boy has a jazzy feel with its electric piano, bouncing cello, languided strings and chimes. Archangel is another amazing oddity, with shuffling drums, staccato string-plucks and distorted guitar. The track Our House is jaunty in a way that reminds me of Crosby, Stills, Nash And Young song of the same name. I’m particularly enamoured with album closer Young Love, complete with harp, strings, clarinet, flute and who knows what else. It sounds like some evocative film music. My one gripe is that I have no idea what he’s singing about most of the time, but what the hell.

Kirkis is a totally singular figure within Australian music. On top of being a virtuosic multi-instrumentalist, he is an accomplished painter and audio-visual artist. This is evidenced in the totality of vide, with its series of accompanying video clips, and Kirkis' donning of a magnificent mullet. It should be noted that this album is quite disparate from his previous work, which has more of a hip-hop/jazz flavour. It's interesting how he has brought some of the production elements of that sort of thing to what’s ostensibly being called ‘coldwave’. Whatever you call it, hats off to anyone who realises their vision in a manner such as this.

- Hillfolk.

Album Details

Album Title: vide
Artist: Kirkis
Record Label: (Moded / Good Manners)