The Kraken Quartet first blipped onto our radar a few months back during their flawless Audiotree Live session. A band of four percussionists who merge electronic textures with a wide range of percussion-based instrumentation to create a layered, rich, effortlessly complex sound is nearly impossible for music nerds like us to ignore.
What’s most surprising initially is how hearing about The Kraken Quartet differs from actually hearing them. If you try to describe everything that’s going on – how each member is doing the work of a small orchestra – and list the countless gadgets, odds and ends being played to make up one track, it would sound like an unparseable wall of competing dynamics. But in reality, what’s presented is clear, concise, carefully-considered. It’s not difficult to pick out individual technicalities and follow a thread of rhythm interwoven throughout a track. And together, those singular threads manage to create an accessible, pleasing whole that can be engaged with at whatever level you’re comfortable.
‘Ox,’ from their upcoming debut, Separate | Migrate is emblematic of the group’s signature sound. The quickly shifting dynamics define and showcase tight instrumentation versus exploration of melody and texture through an evolving series of rhythmic moods. Impressively, no single sound or motif is given precedence over another. There is no frontman, no one instrument that defines it. It gives off the distinct impression that no particular part was written first, and somehow the composition came to be from the ground up all at the same time, without any member playing in service to another.
Guitars be damned. Mallets and sticks forever.
‘Separate | Migrate’ is out on the 28th of April, by jingo. You can go pre-order the digital/CD/vinyl via their Bandcamp page. The band will also play a release show on May 4th at Cheer Up Charlies in Austin. So you Texans, get on down dere hey…