Saturday, 3 January 2015

Kermit - Litoral

Spanish band Kermit released their second album Litoral in spring last year, and I only get round to writing about it now because...well no excuses... ¡Lo siento!

Litoral is a concept album, or, more correctly a tribute album to a Spanish poetry and free thinking magazine first published in 1926 in Málaga that became the journal of an art movement known as the 1927 Generation. Amongst its number were Lorca, Picasso, Dali and other left-field heavyweights. The movement disintegrated with the onset of the Spanish Civil War, with Lorca being murdered, and others jailed or forced into exile.

The word "litoral" translates as coast, tying in with the magazine title Coastal Journey, and the album takes up the artistically progressive mantle of the iconic journal. The band say that after finding their way with their first album Autoficción, they now arrive onshore after that trippy and searching debut. The confidence now apparent in their sound is exemplified by opening track 1926, a track that climbs an infinite staircase to the post-rock firmanent.

The band have developed an intriguing style that inhabits wide open spaces, with a dash of post-rock and spacerock, along with a soupçon of jazz in instinct if not style. Imagine Miles playing guitar in a post-rock band with a fondness for loose cosmic exploration, if you will.

Largely instrumental, there are occasional spoken word interludes quoting from  Spanish and English writers. The album covers many literary and cultural bases, ranging from Magnitizdat, a tune quoting from Orwell whose title refers to an underground Soviet-era Russian cassette music distribution system, to Samhain, a tune for a Gaelic festival that marks the end of autumn and the coming of dark days. That one contains lines from Allen Ginsberg's Howl; "I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness" is repeated as a tumultuous rhythm presages a tune that takes hold in fast orbit around a distant planet. "Burn cigarette holes in your arms protesting the narcotic tobacco age of capitalism" sneers our narrator as an undulating bass rhythm and keyboard swooshes glide us on the next star.

It's a good trip, for sure, and as there are no gaps between the tracks it makes for a seamless journey through questing minds travelling in space and time. Circumpolares contains a wonderful backwards guitar break that will unknot your synapses in no time at all; then it gets really wiggy!

The post-rock/spacerock collision is most in evidence on Ingeborg, and Magnitizdat is given extra colour by the sax of Álvaro Parada. Concluding track 1927 languidly enters the scene as if gently rising from an afternoon siesta, on the back of some more gorgeous sax work from Álvaro. Eventually cosmic synth and dreamy echoed guitar take over, and for any fan of post-rock and spacerock, admittedly with more of the latter this time, this ticks all the right boxes!

The Bandcamp link below is a "Name Your Price" for the download, so it's another case of nothing to lose...give it a go!

1. 1926 (4:39)
2. Samhain (4:18)
3. Circumpolares (6:03)
4. We-tripantu (4:49)
5. Ingeborg (3:59)
6. Magnitizdat (6:29)   
7. 1927 (11:47)

Total running time - 42:07

Line up:
Miguel Seguí - guitar, synth, sampler
Gonzalo Presa - guitar, voices, sampler, drums
Fco. Trujillo - bass, text (to Circumpolares)
Álvaro Parada - drums, voices, saxophone

Itaca Records



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