Chicago-based experimental

The year of Kranky
By NICK SYLVESTER  |  September 24, 2007
Rarely is one label responsible for so many of the year’s best releases, yet 2007 might go down as the year of Kranky. Below are songs from four of the best acts supported by this Chicago-based experimental label . . .

White Rainbow, “Mystic Prism” (mp3)
From Portland, Oregon, Adam Forkner performs in a number of indie outfits, but as White Rainbow he trades in psychedelic drone-rock passages and impressionistic guitar noise. Built off a patient conga groove, "Mystic Prism" expands in volume and density over time, pitching fever when Forkner’s guitar squeals out in top-string ecstasy.

Strategy, “Future Rock” (mp3)
This is the title track from Strategy’s third full-length and second for Kranky. A “rocker” in the reggae-dub sense, the instrumental boasts a mix of percussion sounds that snap and slurp over synthesizer long tones.

Stars of the Lid and Their Refinement of the Decline, “Apreludes (In C Sharp Major)” (mp3)
A short but deliberate track from the drone duo, who’ve been recording for Kranky for a decade now. There’s not much in the way of a traditional melody here. Synthesized horn tones move slowly, interacting with one another in pursuit of new harmonies. The tones serve only themselves; the simple beauty of those chords, and their spacious voicings, receives due emphasis.

Deerhunter, “Like New”
On stage, frontman Bradford Cox’s blood-and-hummer routine can overwhelm a pretty and unassuming song like this: cascades of melodic mid-tempo guitar distortion, shifting in and out of phase with vocals slippery with reverb. Kranky doesn’t often peddle such hard rock, but as if caving in to peer pressure, the song shimmers plenty.

Related: Live and kicking, Off the record: Week of May 11, 2007, Adolescent funks, More more >
  Topics: Download , Bradford Cox, Deerhunter
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