Photo: Rachel Pick

Kuri’s “The Great Orator” Is an Exquisitely Powerful Avant-Folk Piano Ballad (premiere)

Former Oh Village frontman Scott Currie establishes a new persona as Kuri and a solo project with this gorgeously haunting new single, "The Great Orator".

Hailing from British Columbia, singer/songwriter Scott Currie initially gained attention as the vocalist and keyboardist for alternative/indie rock quartet Oh Village. Now, he’s setting his sights on an equally remarkable solo persona—Kuri—with his debut (and slyly named) album, No Village. On his latest single, “The Great Orator”, Kuri alludes to just how exquisitely powerful the entire sequence will be with an arresting collage of earnest, multilayered vocals, subtly symphonic touches, imperative percussion, and a hypnotic central piano theme to tie it all together.

As a child growing up in Abbotsford, he often assessed everything he could “to figure out why we do what we do” in the midst of playing drums alongside his guitarist brothers (that is, before he settled on being a pianist by the age of 12). It’s no wonder, then, why he currently sees himself as “an observer” beyond any other role or title. He expounds: “I like to watch, analyze, and create systems in my brain. As a solo artist, I enjoy the freedom to express exactly what I want by drawing on what I see.” On that note, Currie began creating as Kuri only a couple of years ago, citing influences like John Cage, Radiohead, and Robert Glasper as driving forces toward his goal of generating “an expansive sonic palette” via a wide array of instruments.

As for the meaning and purpose behind “The Great Orator” specifically, he explains, “[It] is about feeling like you’ve discovered something that no one else knows. You’ve discovered this new sense of individuality. It comes from a pretty prideful place, I’d say. Feeling like everyone else is missing what you have… But we are all influenced by bigger things. We tend to miss the forces working beyond us. It was definitely inspired by 1984 in some respects, but it’s not a political song by any means. It’s more about when we feel this sense of urgency when we think we have something others don’t, like we need to liberate. But we are all suspect to influence. Our pride in our ‘sense of self’ is often pretty laughable. I do think it is important for people to find their own legs. I had a long period of finding my own for sure. But that time often comes with a lot of ego. That confidence can be blinding.”

Beginning with earthly classical timbres, its main piano motif delicately appears shortly thereafter and instantly absorbs. Afterward, Kuri’s modest confessions come with strong, relatable resolve, encouraging an upswell of percussion and additional strings to embellish his tenacious realizations touchingly. The result is a chillingly beautiful blend of avant-folk, chamber rock, and core piano ballad that also channels greats like Andrew McMahon, Bat for Lashes, the Family Crest, the Dear Hunter, and Greg Laswell.

Let “The Great Orator” envelop you in introspective magnificence below and be sure to check out all of No Village when it releases on 7 June via Nevado Music.

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