White Hinterland - Kairos
White Hinterland is the project of Casey Dienel and Shawn Creedenm, and Kairos is their latest album of delicate and beautiful electronica. Having resided in Boston and Brooklyn respectively, they have relocated to Portland, Oregon, and without easy access to a piano (the focus of past recordings), the duo have taken to looping, floating soundscapes that flit around the sweet voice of Miss Dienel.
Much of the album seems quite restrained in its instrumentation, no sound ever seems intrusive on the overall experience and on tracks such as opener ‘Icarus’ and later on ‘Thunderbird’, it's noticeable how brilliantly the duo utilise such a sparse and spacey sound built around Casey’s gentle vocals. ‘Moon Jam’ in parts recalls School of Seven Bells and their female-fronted shoegaze but without such a dense sound, while the toy-like twinkling that starts ‘Bow & Arrow’ leads into some acoustic percussion and ghostly strings.
Echoing, almost industrial beats populate ‘Amsterdam’ while a distant bass rumble seeps through, and on ‘Huron’, the looped and stuttering synth leads into the soothing strains of a looped voice. Closing track ‘Magnolia’ is a fittingly melodious and lush end, with its sprinkling of harp and guitar running throughout.
White Hinterland have collectively shown that good music does not equate necessarily to complexity. Their expert restraint, or perhaps reluctance to overpower, creates an album of relaxed yet cerebral sounds that I’d imagine would be even more impressive live.