Kig & Husk is comprised of music veterans Frank Hall from the band Ske and Höskuldur Ólafsson, who made international headlines in the late 90s with the energetic hip-hop outfit, Quarashi. This new album is a notable departure from their earlier work, so we asked the duo to walk us through it, track by track. Here’s what they had to say.
Two Gods in a Taxi
The album begins with a mantra of sort; lyrical repetition sung over a chord-cycle that gradually changes and evolves. The original idea for this song was to paint a digital soundscape using individual notes that would (in theory) form harmony but are, in fact, entirely random and accidental in its composition. The indistinct conversation you hear at the beginning of the song is a sample from a wonderfully awkward 1966 clip of John Lennon and Bob Dylan sharing a limousine. Writing a song about the banality of two musical giants (two gods) trying to have a normal conversation in a glorified taxi was just irresistible to us. They‘re “all around but nowhere found” seeing as one is dead and the other unapproachable, at best.
So Long Holly
A critique of toxic masculinity still found in various socially acceptable institutions and behaviour (e.g. male choirs, country clubs, Freemasons, gender segregated chess tournaments, etc.)—the whole being more dangerous than the sum of its parts. The bass is in the forefront, aggressive, unwavering and self-righteous; with an incisive Bowie-influenced guitar-riff (a la Scary Monsters) on top. The title of the song is a reference to the sample heard at the end, taken from Orson Wells’ (in)famous monologue in the 1949 film, The Third Man: “In Italy for thirty years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love, they had five hundred years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.”
Probably the only song on the record that has a genuine band feel to it. We invited a few friends (amazing musicians and instrumentalists) to the studio, cooked some pasta, drank a few bottles of cheap wine and recorded the song in one session.
This number (originally inspired by Jeff Bridges‘ “Brand New Angel”) is also an honest attempt at deconstructing the country music genre, both in terms of lyrical content and musical composition.
Kill the Moon
This song is the end result of an attempt to build a song around a groove. In a way, it‘s a piece that favours atmosphere over logical song structure. The hippie-ish guitar riff reminds us of Jefferson Airplane and Love, and when we realised where the song was taking us, we couldn’t resist the urge to add a few Eastern spices to the phrasing and harmony. The title of the song and the lyrics are a not-so-subtle reference to Romeo and Juliet (act 2, scene 2): “Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon.”
“Lognið” (The Calm) was originally written for a theatre production (Dubbeldusch) but we felt it had further potential, so we decided to expand on the short piece and see where it would lead us. There’s lots of vocal disruption and experimentation going on, as well as tireless overdubbing of acoustic instruments, such as classical guitar, balalaika, and mandolin. Halfway through the song there’s a sharp transition to electronic instruments, guitars, synthesizers and some excellent drumming (inspired by Chemical Brothers, “Where do I Begin”) by our dear friend Diddi. This is also the only song on the album sung in Icelandic.
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