Idiophonic – ‘Black House’

By February 17, 2011 September 27th, 2013 CD

Idiophonic, the York-based project of Karl Jenkins, kicks off a new year of gigs and tours, with a new 7-track album, ‘Black House’. Not only a dark, atmospheric and an innovative offering, but also it seems, a listening journey into a man’s musical odyssey that references Claude Debussy, Regina Specktor, Aphex Twin and Massive Attack…


‘Black House’ opener ‘Clockwork’ begins with classical piano that provides the perfect backdrop for Karl Jenkins’ earnest vocals and lyrics. This ‘stripped down’ song showcases Jenkins’ natural talent and provides an intriguing opener to an eclectic collection of tracks. This leads into ‘Monster’ which demonstrates a more electro-pop vibe with synthesised vocals and Casio keyboard-theme rhythms – the lyrics are decidedly Orwellian and is one of the shorter tracks on the album. ‘86th St Arms’, is certainly a weaker addition to the album, being slightly repetitive and what one would imagine one would hear over and over again falling from a great height in a very bad dream. ‘Forget Me Not’ follows in a similar musical strand to ‘86th St Arms’ and yet appears more focused than that of its predecessor. ’67 6′ boldly declares: “I won’t be your whore anymore”, and is a good example of Jenkins’ often frustrated lyrics of paranoia that form a cohesive theme throughout the album. Radiohead are clearly influences in this particular song and could proudly stand beside any of Thom Yorke’s darker work.

‘Kokoro’ meanwhile is certainly one of the, if not the stand-out tracks of the collection. A running dance-vibe intro unfolds into a both ambient and probing tune that lasts just over six minutes without ever overstaying its welcome. We wouldn’t be very surprised if this song could soon be heard on film soundtracks, a feat certainly not to be sniffed at.

In the closing track, Jenkins demonstrates his traditional piano skills once again, bringing about a truly cyclical feel to the album. Jaunty, and perhaps almost gospel piano underlies a dark, macabre and violent love song: “Round the back of the station house of the 4am express/Your blood stained clothes glimmered in the moonlight/I was cleaning my favourite hatchet and you started to undress.”

‘Black House’ is a musically educated and mature album that deserves repeated plays and is one that inspires reflection as well as euphoria. It is a body of work from a man who clearly loves his craft and works hard to create sounds that many would spend copious amounts of time and money trying to replicate. Idiophonic is an act bound for future critical acclaim from the looks of this offering, and expect to hear his music in a film or in a darkly lit and exclusive warehouse gig with Zane Lowe taking note in the front row very very soon…


For more information visit the official MySpace.



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