King Midas Sound: Waiting For You

Sounding like some mutant spawn of The Bug and Burial, King Midas Sound makes a considerable splash with its debut full-length Waiting For You. The brainchild of poet Roger Robinson and Kevin Martin (of The Bug and Techno Animal fame), King Midas Sound begs comparison to Burial to the degree that the music of both acts oozes atmosphere of a decrepit and dread-laced kind. What sets King Midas Sound apart from Burial (and anyone else, for that matter) is the merging of Robinson's fragile falsetto vocalizing with the incredible, heavily opiated dub-based material that unspools in slow motion underneath. Toxic exercises in bass science, the tracks resound with pulsating dub bass lines, snares that crack like gunfire, and kick drums that pound like amplified heartbeats, with all of it overlaid by Robinson's distinctive whisper and wrapped in echo- drenched and dust-smothered atmospheres.

Opener “Cool Out” entrances with its low-end, bass-heavy swoon and Robinson's fragile quiver. The ecology-themed “Earth a Kill Ya” strips its rootsy, sax-accented dub workout to the bone (percussively speaking) with Robinson's voiceover offset by a child-like vocal motif that's more macabre than cute. “Sometimes” likewise spotlights Robinson's much-lower speaking voice, which, being so, contrasts sharply with his breathy falsetto singing. Heady in the extreme, “I Man” stabilizes a disorienting churn of booming bass throb, claps, and percussive showers with Robinson's vocal drawl. “Meltdown” is like lover's rock soaked in venom, while the most uptempo cut, “Outer Space” offers a rare sampling of dancehall-inflected music-making, even if its spacious mix has it beaming in from another galaxy. Adding to Waiting For You's trippy character is the inclusion of backing vocalist Hitomi (from Dokkebi Q) on three of its songs. Though Hyperdub has issued numerous singles, its full-length output has been small in number, which makes the captivating Waiting For You all the more special a release.

December 2009