Kling Klang - The Esthetik of Destruction
As debut albums go, this is something of an oddity - a collection of all Kling Klang's official recordings from 1999 to 2005. Whilst this may suggest that they've not be able to come up with something new recently, The Esthetik of Destruction contains enough highs to make you hope for something more.
From the opening drones of Heavydale and its chunky repetitive keyboards, this sounds like the bastard love child of Add N To (X) and Kraftwerk with an extra dash of dark seediness for good measure. Hailing from Liverpool, the comparisons with Clinic are easy, but where they sometimes get bogged down in boring, repetitive nonsense, Kling Klang's record ooze an aggression and energy that carries their sound above and beyond the usual dirge of bedroom experimental electronica. One look at the record cover with its close-up of a keyboard and the blood red background, you should know what you're letting yourself in for.
With no vocals on these tracks plus the fact that they're on Mogwai's label, Rock Action, it would be easy to lump these in with the post-rock crowd. There are plenty of similarities with the bands of that genre, but the tracks here are a lot shorter, ranging from the thirty seconds of 70's space style keyboards and drums of Flying Hotel to the six minutes of Untitled @ 33rpm and it's fuzzed up keyboards and haunting sound effects. These are shorty and concise deliberations in electronica that finish before they lose their excitment. Vander sounds like it could come from a late 60's, early 70's Sci-Fi show like Blake's 7 - the sinister keyboards sound like their the backing music for the climax of the episode as the arch-nemesis and our hero fight to the death.
Relying on keyboard's and hammond organ as your instrument of choice can limit your musical repertoire however, and no matter how many effects boxes you push the noise through, it's still an organ. Over the course of this album you can get a bit bored of the same old chunky organ sound and whilst they do their best to mix it up, it does get repetitive.
But what this does show is that you can still develop the whole post-rock genre - you don't just need guitars and music to go from quiet to loud and back again. You can still make music that's funky, engaging and, dare I say it, danceable whilst still exploring the more left-field nature of music.