I didn’t really know about King Midas Sound until Unsound Adelaide, when a billed artist had to pull out and Kevin Martin, who was there already performing as the Bug offered a solo set as King Midas Sound. It was remarkable, smoky, atmospheric, beatless and bottom end heavy. At the time I referred to it as Eraserhead dub and it was the best thing I saw that year. I subsequently picked up their collaboration with Fennesz, Edition 1, and it’s a masterwork of post industrial neo soul. Their music is dark, late night desolate, but imbued with a strange intoxicating beauty.
Four years later it’s a return to the original duo, Kiki Hitomi has departed and Roger Robinson and Kevin Martin provide these beatless atmospheric slabs of sound, over which Robinson intones his strange spoken word sound poetry. There’s no semblance of singing or rapping, Robinson speaks almost unemotionally of loss and solitude, of longing and dread in his deep melancholic voice. It exists somewhere between Ken Nordine and Jeff Bridges Sleeping Tapes. It’s about texture as much as content. It’s mood music, and of course Martin as with the Bug creates these masterfully deep sonic textures that move and bubble and expand with a rare level of control.
It took me a while to come to terms with Solitude, because it’s so immersive. For me it didn’t sink until I was driving late at night/ early morning through near deserted streets, weary but wired, allowing the menacing stark minimal beauty to build and make a home in my consciousness. Though I mourn the absence of Hitomi’s singing, this is deep, dark and stark. “Sometimes he holds his head in his wings and mumbles what’s the point, what’s the point.” Offers Robinson. The bleakness and despair is palpable. Why do I embrace it so?