• Capitol K - Island Row

    Reviewed by Stephen Dalton (NME)

    Capitol K - Island Row

    Kristian Craig Robinson deals in the sort of deconstructed techno-folk
    collages that, on paper, could easily sound dangerously new age. In
    reality, though, they rumble and lurch, soothe and unsettle in fairly
    equal measure. Although more melodic and less fragmented than his debut,
    these 11 collages of found sounds and treated beats still find ample
    room for the random and perverse, with occaisional epiphanies lurking in
    their soft folds and ebbing rhythms. The prevailing contradiction is
    high-tech lo-fi, with evocative use of ambient elements like sonorous
    grandfather clocks in "Heat" or clanking heavy machinery in "Capitol
    Beat Sticky".
    Most of this album trads the fuzzy border where processed studio rock
    unravels into electro-sonic patchwork, but there are some deceptively
    strong and simple tunes lurking in the murk too. "Pillow" features a
    fragile vocal worthy of Billy Corgan in wasted romantic mood, crooning
    softly over a fissured folk implosion which keeps snarling up on it's
    own half-speed beats. Strip away the clang and shimmer of "Lion Anon"
    and a Beth Orton-esque lullaby lies beneath. And "Dance On" could almost
    be Prince - chiefly because it is an actual Prince cover, although
    methodically twisted into a garbled art-funk mutant not too far from
    Beck's wilder fringes. Solid breakbeat foundations hold most of this
    record together, but the deep layers of eclectic surface noise above set
    the mind running in a dozen different directions.
    (7)