Bate Kush, the second short release from a side-project of drone and ambient musician Foie Gras known as Bad Kisser, presents the listener with a conundrum. The EP has eight extremely noisy and lo-fi tracks, only two of which last more than ninety seconds. Honestly, the brevity of the songs here isn’t really an issue nor is the very rough production on display; it’s the fact that we’re only hearing what seems to be small segments of bigger, more complete pieces that’s problematic. Unlike, say, The Dwarves who, for a time, specialized in making short songs that were still fully developed with distinct beginning, middle, and ending sections, Bad Kisser tracks are typically composed of one run-through of brief, poetic verse and the majority of them end very abruptly. This means that Bate Kush seems very fragmentary and unsubstantial: though the album is very stark and moody (some might even say depressing), it’s simply difficult to get into an album that’s designed in this manner. This release plays more like an experiment in song and album construction and presentation than a satisfying music release - at least one that most people would appreciate or indeed want to hear.
Essentially, what we have here is a hodgepodge of truly deranged melodramatic music that perhaps would best be described as “spook pop.” Many of the tracks here are overrun with reverb and echo to the point where they seem to have been recorded in a cathedral or sewage tunnel, and the hissy sound quality alternates between being too tinny or extremely bass-heavy. Everything in these tracks bleeds together to create a syrupy fog of droning, warbling melody and ghostly, more or less incomprehensible vocals, and the whole album (which lasts a scant ten minutes) is definitively unsettling and frequently creepy. This is never more the case than during the downright disturbing, minor-key rendition of the chorus of Joe Cocker’s “You Are So Beautiful” that turns up in the album’s final track.
Since the album rarely if ever provides an genuine conclusion to any of its melodic or lyrical statements, there’s no escaping the fact that Bate Kush can be extremely frustrating to listen to. In spite of all the problems however, I can’t in good faith dislike or dismiss it – this EP has a very unique sound and feel which held my attention throughout. In the end, while I’m not sure that I can entirely endorse the concept behind Bate Kush, I’d have to label it as an interesting album and a definite improvement over Bad Kisser’s first, almost pointlessly brief release. Due to its incredibly rough production and severe approach, this would have precisely no appeal to mainstream listeners, but those with a taste for more unconventional and bizarre music might want to have a go at it.
7.0 / 10
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