The lead track on Sonic Kitchen (Adaadat), “Dream”, is a minimal mix of looping organ, glitch percussion and electronic pulse. Beat-centric pop music, it seems pretty straightforward. Then it gears up, and other elements, including atmospheric keyboard abstractions, and long saxophone and piano solo samples, are dropped in according to effective if as-yet inscrutable logic.
When “Dream” ends and a jaunty vintage dance sample introduces “Pickled Tango”, the co-ordinates seem pretty obvious: electronica and sampling; play made with stark contrasts; see also: Solex and/or Mr Scruff. But hang on, that piercing whine of feedback is unexpected, and persistent. Soon the tango stops and its just that fluctuating feedback with some recorded footfall mixed in, and some muffled crackling sounds that could be shavings from the Bohman Brothers’ “hard-wired flea market“.
KAYAKA is Kaya Kamijo, a Tokyo-born, Berlin- and London-based composer and multi-instrumentalist. Her bio say’s she was “self educated, apart from piano lessons and brass band practices when she was a child”, and that her live sets are “mostly” improvised. That fits.
Perhaps the rhapsodic piano on this track is KAYAKA? The title “Hungarian Rhapsodist” suggests otherwise. But the other, less placeable, foley-style sounds are surely original. The juxtaposition of the lyrical and the makeshift is nicely done. Nothing here is crass-sounding or laid on too thick. It’s kitschy, but lucid. Franz Liszt yes; Brahms and Liszt, certainly not.
There’s more lyrical piano on “tropic of cancer”, trinkle-tinkling through the mechanical rhythmics of actual-sounding machinery. The lovely “Who Knows Amelia” repeats the trick with looping percussion and a plaintive Arabic vocal. By simple surrealist montage strategies, a helpful third layer of sampled talk helpfully suggests, “the music develops cohesion”.
“Piper’s Rats” is a hit of wonky instrumental pop, with a lyric courtesy of a sampled Dagmar Krause singing Kurt Weill’s “Surabaya Johnny”.
This is easy music to unpick and describe; disparate sounds overlaid, neither merging nor colliding, creating something new without disguising any of the ingredients. KAYAKA’s audio olios seem soufflé-light after the fizzing ideation of Øyvind Torvund‘s compositions (last reviewed on Dalston Sound), and they are all the more pleasing for it.
Kaya Kamijo electronics, harp, bass clarinet, drums, bass guitar and gadgets.
Buy Sonic Kitchen direct from Adaadat.