There’s such texture in the voice of Simon Okley so as to trick you into thinking that he was singing across a tall range when it’s actually quite a limited depth of pitch. His tone moves from rounder, back of the throat sounds to breathier quiet whispers and backing vocals thicken his thinner chorus notes. It’s captivating enough to retain your attention for the whole of the track despite having to compete with some similarly attractive elements. That guitar section, which is paired perfectly with a clean and clear bass line is just beautiful. When the chorus drops in that same guitar line starts hugging the vocal part like an estranged father recently reunited with a child, endorphins everywhere, tears streaming down both of their faces as they finally let go of all that hurt and all that distance and all that pain. So cathartic, way beautiful. Okley spent his formative “moonlighting” as a guitarist for Oh Mercy but now out on his lonesome he’ll be releasing his record Surrender on the 19th of August. He certainly knows his way around the old throat for someone who was a string noodler all that time. I’m hoping that the album houses more tracks like this one because this is a legitimate song, not simply a pretty voice and a nice groove. Ten more of these and we’re talking about a standout release.
There’s a freshly minted video out for the track too, if you like what you’re-a-hearing.
Firstly, thank you Yon Yonson for being artists with a vision, for taking us on a journey that we didn’t necessarily expect. I’m talking of course of the binary structure of this song. Listening to this song we can hear that there is a clearly delineated A and B section, the first being characterised by something that sounds suspiciously like a stripped back piano ballad, and the second as a more visceral, beat-based electronic passage which is (from a production point) stunning, and to which youths of today will certainly find it easy to ‘groove’ to at a ‘live gig’.
Secondly, I’d like to say I’m so damn sick of songs that are about nothing. This is why I’m so damn into ‘No Enemy’. The lyrics are temporal and pertinent to this time and place, painting a highly personal description of confusion in a seemingly hostile world. There’s substance here, a flavour that isn’t vanilla; one you can completely eat up or AT LEAST react against if you hate it. The reverb-infused sound of a lonely piano suits the autobiographical vibe of the song perfectly. It almost feels as if the B section is a regression into a safe place, like too much thinking can be destructive. Which it can, so let’s not over analyse things anymore. It’s certainly the most ballsy, interesting oddball tune I’ve heard in a while. Also any lyricist that uses ‘analgesic’ instead of ‘pain killers’ has my vote.
Noone knows why its spelt ‘Khlever’ rather than ‘Clever’ but i suspect its a tip of the hate to the great Genghis Khan and like Genghis, Ned Beckley will not be stopped as he
inexorably advances on Europe continues to lead the way for young Australian producers. I particularly like that Beckley isn’t annexing land from the already populous wave racer nation but instead is confidently turning heads with a sound more his own. No music is ever entirely one’s own what with the internet and using samples and those machines that young people are using to make music that aren’t guitars but it’s certainly less run of the mill than a good batch of the electronic music currently on the “online web”. Plus, and just as importantly, its really rather good. So too is the video. My guess is that we’re looking at Icelandic landscapes and my word, they’re beautiful. This could be a stand-alone advertisement for tourism Iceland were it not also for the cult-children adding some narrative to the work. Wonderfully shot and unfolding with the same patience as the track itself, this video is a lovely counterpoint to the dark structure that is Khlever. Credit to everyone even remotely involved in this art.
I wanna say euro disco, I wanna say Mediterranean, I wanna say so many things and places about this song but the truth is I don’t really know what’s going on or where I am right now or the direct line of reference for a track like this. Andras had elected to leave this track garnish free and it certainly from the dry production. Oscars voice is left raw and bare just as God intended it while the kick drum is accompanied only by only a responding snare, neither drum sound particularly effected. There’s no unnecessary percussion littering the mix, just Andras prodding at his keys in a way progressive enough so as not to feel like a set of loops. This is excitingly the first new material since the pair released mini-album Embassy Cafe last year and it promises a return to form with perhaps even a little more vocal melody on this record than the last, if this single is anything to go by. The duo have never toured the act up to Sydney but I have high hopes for such a tour sometime during this record’s life. If you’re down Melbourne way you can see the song live very soon indeed, so soon that it’s actually THIS SUNDAY! That’s literally the soonest Sunday available, provided you maintain a traditional view of Sundays. I know a lot of people have been thinking ‘What even is a Sunday? Maybe a Tuesday is a Sunday?’
Well it ain’t. A Tuesday is a Tuesday and a Sunday is a Sunday you post-modernist pig. If you’re like me and you hate that line of thinking and also love this song then you’ll be there at Howler on Sunday, except that I won’t be there because I am in Sydney.
The first installment of what I’m going to dub ‘Key Sung Wednesday’ is a reimagining of Key Sung’s ‘Holograms‘. To suggest that the song has been stretched out to this new six minute affair would be a misrepresentation of the Zacharia process. It’s an entirely new orchestration that effectively only takes lightly from the vocal stem of the original track and while it’s been stripped of the latent sexuality of Oscar’s jam, in that loss is a different gain. The new take is an ambrosial feast splayed out wide and thin. This is only Jamil’s second recorded single, the first exclusively available via the third Wondercore Island Mixtape. I definitely needed this today, if only to cleanse the memory of the Griswold’s record that came in the mail yesterday. You’ll find Jamil involved with some of the sideprojects of the various Hiatus Kaiyote members as well as recording with the don juan himself, Kirkis. Here’s to what comes next.