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Cover And Flood
Orinoco Lo-Fi anyone?
Patrick Freyne, 19 Jan 2012
Let us get to the heart of the matter straight away: Katie Kim’s shoegazing extravaganza Cover And Flood is very, very good. Appealingly minimal half-whispered melodies blend with primitive guitar arpeggios, or pianos and cellos, or organs and harmoniums, or drum-machine beatz, or electronic fuzz, and over it all varying degrees of echo, reverb, distortion and background noise wash like a comforting lo-fi sea.
There are 20 tracks on this record, but the song lengths go from minute-long philosophical stabs (such as the finger piano-accompanied ‘All Living Things’) to more typically pop song length tracks such as ‘Blood Bean’ in which the fuzz and echo build ethereally like a dissonant low-budget Enya (Orinoco lo-fi?).
The level of fuzz and noise also varies hugely from song to song, with some tracks sounding like they were mumbled into a Dictaphone on a busy bus, while others sound almost like they were produced in a (God-forbid!) studio. It is all, however, moodily evocative and sonically thought-provoking. Does this comfort with a world of spill and background noise indicate a form of sonic honesty? Or is it a self-conscious obfuscation of melodies, lyrics and meaning for a postmodern generation who fear certainty? Do lo-fi production techniques hint at greater depths of meaning that are, in fact, un-recordable? Do you want to punch me in the face right now?
With Katie Kim one thing is clear: whether it’s the whispered, fuzzy and background-noise filled ‘Dimmer’ or the clearer, crisper and more sonically enunciated ‘Fake Your Death’ she knows how to craft and arrange a song. Cover And Flood is a very fine record. It is also an immensely enjoyable listening experience.