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Kinski: Semaphore EP

Ryan Potts


Semaphore EP

Label: Sub Pop
US Release Date: 2002-10-08
UK Release Date: Available as import

According to the Big Bang Theory, our universe is expanding at a rate that's continually getting faster and faster due to the cosmological constant. Thus, more and more empty space is between the notable constellations of our universe: The stars, galaxies, and celestial bodies.

Appropriately enough, the same theorem aptly applies to our sonic realm of space-rock where its innovators and originators in Neu! and Can are torn apart by feeble- minded musicians on a daily basis. As time perpetually pushes on, more and more naked space is satiated with bands simply pacifying the negative space between the godfathers (the galaxies and solar systems) of the avant-rock subgenres. More specifically: For every band mapping and pioneering new aural territory such as Sonic Youth, My Bloody Valentine, and Spacemen 3, there is a band like Sub Pop's newly signed Kinski that follows an atlas already surveyed by thousands.

The space-rock genre hasn't only reached its saturation point; it's simply run dry. And, fittingly, all five of those legendary sound-sculpting bands are pinpointed as inspiration for Kinski on their hyperbole-laden biography as if their music doesn't reveal their blaring influences loudly enough.

But the real tragedy here is that Kinski's full-length precursor, this EP, seems promising enough. "Semaphore" introduces this Seattle quartet with guitars cloaked heavily in delay and modulating devices as the song eventually builds into a six-minute crashing crescendo of guitar-led feedback and apocalyptic drum patterns. But, even then, Kinski protrudes like a band merely meandering in the shadow of Mogwai and Godspeed You Black Emperor as the four-some unnaturally flows from one boring bliss-rock transition to the next.

"Semaphore", however, is undoubtedly the EP's best display of space-rock sculpting and epic, solar songwriting. The following track attempts to mesh vocals with the instrumental rock in the song before it as it instills the same krautrock clich├ęs and same avant-rock pretenses just this time attached to some mundane lyrics. That track, "Point That Thing Somewhere Else", is quick to keep Kinski's sickeningly average sound drowning in mediocrity as that tune explores nothing but Daydream Nation's more pointed and urgent tracks.

Continuing on their plight to ponder every moment in space-rock's expansive history, "The Bunnies Are Tough" succeeds in pummeling the listener with boredom as its ambient music will surely appeal to no one as it creates a nonexistent mood and resurrects an atmosphere of pretentious dullness.

Succinctly, Kinski is like a spoon. Perfection's been reached in the given field of each: There's simply nothing more for a mediocre band -- or utensil -- to accomplish. It's all been done.

If you don't have any worthwhile space-rock to play, don't play it at all, as they say.

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