Kinit Her – The Poet & The Blue Flower

a1769098363_2When I’m searching (as I tend to be) for that strange and elusive edge where completely unique, experimental music meets a degree of quality usually reserved for bands working in more familiar territories, Brave Mysteries is one of my first stops. And while this Wisconsin label puts out a healthy variety of great music, including that brilliant Ulaan Passerine tape I reviewed back in June, the releases of theirs that most interest me are the works of Nathaniel Ritter and Troy Schafer, one or both of which is involved in Kinit Her, Wreathes, Circulation of Light, Compass Hour, and more. Kinit Her itself is quite a wild creature, incorporating elements of neofolk, early and traditional music, neoclassical, and electronics into a vitally unique whole that sounds like it was created by some forgotten culture, hidden away deep in the woods of the northern midwest. Following up on The Cavern Stanzas LP, The Poet & The Blue Flower is Kinit Her’s 2nd of 4 (5 if you count the Storm of Radiance vinyl release!) announced releases for this year alone.

The Poet & The Blue Flower is formed around a diptych structure, framed in the beginning, middle, and end by two renditions of two songs: “Feast of Death” and “Silence, My Song.” The former opens each frame of the album with a sing-song melody that vaguely reminds me of German drinking songs, driven by violin and Kinit Her’s idiosyncratic vocals; dramatic and strange drawls that often drift into feral growls, while subtle percussion and piano add texture to the soundscape. The 2nd version of the song is a more somber, slow take on the theme of the 1st. “Silence, My Song” closes each side of the album. It has more of an ancient air about it, something you could imagine as a paean to an early Indo-European god with its driving percussion, oriental tinged melody, backing horns, and impassioned vocals. It’s 2nd exploration is also a slower approach, but no less ecstatic. The drawn out vocals unfold over the piano, violin, and what sounds like an organ in a manner that gives the album proper a satisfying end.

It’s the longer songs between these interludes that makes up the core of The Poet & The Blue Flower. The song of the album’s namesake and “Reconcile” inhabit the first side. “The Poet & The Blue Flower” opens in regal fashion, led by a stirring violin and vocal melody soaring over pulsing drums and a stringed instrument I can’t identify creating a light, scintillating sound. About halfway through it climaxes with a spirited chant with clanging bells, sonorous horns, and a cthonic croak buried under the rapturous incantations of the higher vocals. The attention to the depth of the sound on this album creates a rich atmosphere to sink into and become thoroughly immersed in the sonic world that Kinit Her has crafted. That’s especially impressive considering the album relies mostly (entirely?) on acoustic instrumentation. “Reconcile” is a slightly shorter track, and it absolutely breathes with that entrancing atmosphere. It is the least dynamic of the core songs, but the slowly transforming layers and waves of vocals, along with its shorter length, maintain its engrossing nature.

“Day & Night Together” and “A Dome Surrounds” fill in the 2nd half of the picture. “Day and Night Together” is the slowest feeling track. The violin takes a drone role on it, while the piano provides a calm, reflective melody. The vocals also have a quieter, somber quality to them. The voices fade out for the end of the song, a slightly noisy, droning section that concludies with a simple, oddly eerie melody. My favorite song on The Poet… is “A Dome Surrounds.” It has a chorale vibe to it; swelling horns, marching drums, deep and fervent singing and intonations. A bowed violin melody, along with a plucked harmony, add a genuinely beautiful character to the song, and I find the way it slowly builds up and then fades away to be really moving.

The Poet & The Blue Flower is the most refined Kinit Her release as of this point. Compared to last year’s Storm of Radiance, it has a considerably more stoic and restrained character. Though it retains that distinctive religious aura that in many ways defines their sound, the more ecstatic and feral aspects of their hymns are reined in to allow a more somber and reflective side to show itself. Think less Moses in the desert, more Rilke (or rather Rudolf Pannwitz, from whose poetry the lyrics are drawn) in his study. While I do sometimes find myself longing for Kinit Her to break out of these songs with something more ambitious and challenging in structure, it’s easy to recognize the admirably concise and complete feel that the album as a whole has. The pleasingly symmetrical form, the rich atmosphere, and careful layering of sounds all exude a confidence in delivery that shows Ritter and Schafer know exactly what they’re doing here; all the more impressive due to the fiercely unique nature of their art. -Jake

Brave Mysteries

~ by jakemoran on July 10, 2013.

One Response to “Kinit Her – The Poet & The Blue Flower”

  1. […] The Poet & The Blue Flower represented the spiritual sound alchemists behind Kinit Her as their most elegantly composed and […]

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