Thursday, February 24, 2011

Music for Museums

Thursday nights in winter the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art presents an evening Soirée featuring food, fundraising, wine, music and of course fresh art and performance. I was excited to read that Kinski, a band from Seattle, would be backing two dancers called robbinschild. The dancers were to 'interpret' the vast space of the great hall and stairway as well as react to the sonic cathedral that the band built up.
I followed Kinski closely when i lived in Seattle around the millennium. They are beloved in their hometown -- the children of Daydream Nation. An intense sound emits like Alpine Static from stacks of speakers, a rhythm section pulses and drives, while very few words, if any, muddle the mix. When i arrived in Japan around that time one of the first people i saw was wearing a Kinski t-shirt, which both surprised and didn't surprise me. Kinksi seemed to me a pretty local phenomenon, a Northwest US cult, but the Japanese always seem to have an ear very close to the ground. The art noise the band perfected wasn't far off from Japan's own Acid Mothers Temple. In fact both would collaborate later on a 2003 Sub Pop release.
Back at the Soirée as robbinschild jerked and swayed, wrestled and stripped, tied and untied knots around them, Kinski's tower of power seemed to shoot five-stories high and out the oculus of the MoMA. Ten years on, a band i once loved to see in Seattle's dank clubs had gone through the canvas and acquired real art rock caché.
Here's a piece called "Punching Goodbye Out Front," from their 2007 album, Down Below it's Chaos.

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