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Ken Clinger & Friends - "KCollab​​​.​​​06" album review

Recently, I came across a strange album on the amazing website known as Bandcamp that had me intrigued. The title was KCollab.06 and the artist was Ken Clinger & Friends. I was curious of the basic art and odd name that indicated a series, so I clicked on it. It seems that Ken Clinger is a legendary musician of cassette culture, and this is a collaboration he did with many other artists. The album met my expectations as a very cool, experimental (for real) album of strange sounds, reminding me of an album I put out called January. While KCollab.06 came out in 1991, and my album came out in 2015, this Winter of 2019, I want everyone to hear the odd instrumentations of Ken Clinger & Friends.

The cover art of KCollab.06 is not that great. It's a very basic, MS Paint style image with plain text, simple shapes, and bright colors. I like the composition, and the small images that resemble instruments or staircases give it an air of mystery. Still, the actual quality of the cover art holds it back.

The first track on KCollab.06 is "Sandra" by Don Campau & KC. I can only assume that the KC stands for Ken Clinger, but I will retain the way it is spelled on these tracks in the rest of the review. Anyway, this first track has a somewhat creepy tone, about how someone is "Sandra's tonight". Is Sandra a murderer? There's a synth buzzing around (maybe a stylophone), a droning back rhythm section, and some other kind of piano or something. The hypnotic musick drives the eeriness home.

Next Beeg Srahka & KC present "Fever Dream". This is a weird track of atonal tones and warped rhythms. It's exactly what it seems like it would be. The almost-vocal sound makes me feel particularly unnerved.

Then there's "John M Bennet" by DanKitti & KC. This track is all about a John M Bennet; it's sort of like a Mad-Libs thing, and the way the words are spoken remind me of the infamous Wesley Willis. There are some little chime-y things happening all around too.

“The Ant Party” is a great little percussive piece (I think it is a xylophone). It’s resonant, like tones through many chambers beneath the earth. Maybe there is some great machinery in there hidden somewhere. This could be a cool track in a video game and reminds me of one called MediEvil.

Belinda Subramen & Ken Clinger have the next track – “We Are All Part Of”. This is another spoken word piece with ambient backing. It really sounds like some kind of public access thing, an alien message, but really this is more of a cynical take on New Age magick.

Furgas-Clinger is the artist for “Anomaly”, a midi-sounding free jazz tra-la-la that goes back and forth into more melodic paths. I get the image of this song as being like a really bright, MS Paint image of a meadow, and I am not too fond of that. It’s also sort of like Warhol’s Flowers.

The seventh piece of song is Ray Carmen, Mike Crooker, Ken Clinger with “Anything, Anytime, Anywhere”, a really off-beat pop/new wave track like the 80s Jackson Browne. It’s a love song with a choral keyboard and a dance beat. I like the break with computer sounds and something that reminds me of a rocket jet. The muted production makes this track a little duller than it could be.

The John M Bennet seemingly makes an appearance on “Shoe Info Boiling”, a track like the earlier one about this guy. John M Bennet & Ken Clinger have created a sort of sea-shanty about a shoe, another Mad Lib, another mystery thought-provoker.

PurrPurr & KC do the next track – “Naughahide Slash Marks”. It’s very cinematic and reminds me of a track from the video game “Swagman”. It’s all big jumps of orchestra and twinkling nurseries. One could also make a comparison to Danny Elfman’s compositions for Tim Burton’s early films.

“This Is Not A Love Poem” is a grim song by Zidbovinesick where a rhythmic loop plays behind buried noise loops and a echo-y, monotone man. The man seems pretty hyperbolicly upset, depressed, and downtrodden. He keeps talking about getting pushed to the edge. The title gets cut out, as the speaker says it towards the end, before turning vicious.

DanKitti & KC return with the enchantingly dark, "Space Cow With A Difference". The song has an interesting rhythm to its freeform playing, and I enjoy the differences in texture, at least to a degree. The song shifts synth sounds way too much at first listen; it's basically a montage of little experiments, sort of like the album as a whole in one package, and I sort of like it. I was sort of irritated at first, but the song really grew on me with its, what I see as humor. It is a little long for what it is, though.

Next, Catfish & KC create "Elephant Sounds". This is another story about a girl who plays a tuba and gets bullied by her jerky relative until she gets back at him. The "Elephant Sounds" of the title are so deep and damaged; it's pretty wild. I really enjoyed the story, and it is an interesting take on abstract art and trends.

Bovine Milkman's "Vomitoxin" is a jolly stroll through buzzing showtunes. It makes me think of, like, walking down a staircase with purple and magenta walls while dizzy and sick in the middle of the night.

Dare to Fail & Ken Clinger have "April Afternoon", a more uplifting track with a chorus-laden synth in the background. The melody is pretty cheery with the beat supplied by bells. It sort of sounds like a track from an early Final Fantasy game, ambient and in the background.

Mike Tetrault & Ken Clinger are "Burning Now & Forever". Are they in Hell or in a volcano? I hope not. This is another spoken-word-over-ambient-sound. It's another grim, love-burned story to my ears. The title actually refers to someone's eyes. When the sudden end came, it made me frightened.

The last track is AMKC's "Rising Suns", another uplifting track full of echo, a harp-type sound, and a near-Motorik beat. It really reminds me of Kraftwerk's "Europe Endless", though totally different in significant ways. The vocals float over the landscape as we go out.

KCollab.06 is a spotty album composed of many parts. There is an ongoing darkness running throughout, an undercurrent to some of the porcelain musick found in other area. That thematic connection and weird tonality of the thing gives this collaborative release a lot of appeal, and it truly makes it experimental. I'm definitely going to check out some of Ken Clinger's other musick. There's quite a bit of it. This one, KCollab.06, receives a Good.