Epic; tribal; grandiose. That’s pretty much how you need to make your arrival into a room full of pussy-footers, which is almost where we’re at in the current musical sphere. Welcome, then, to Kan Wakan, an LA-based troupe that comprises instrumental guru Gueogui Linev and Amy Winehouse-like singer Kristianne Bautista, who generate an instantaneous fear and flourish in opening track Like I Need You as if the world was about to end. As trepidation goes, it’s atomic-bomb ominous, and fiercely, brutally beautiful.
Following this, Are We Saying Goodbye? is a sparse and sonorous seduction of a song that is the soundtrack to any smoky, heartbroken subterranean chamber that cries out to the forgetting night. A hauntingly mellifluous soundtrack to pain that sounds and feels like it was crafted from a blues-laden reminiscence – instantly memorable, and heavy with nostalgic, glassy-eyed reflection.
The title track is as breathy as the earth on a frosty autumn morning, Bautista’s vocals heavily sighing and soaring in equal measure over an unstoppable melody and percussion that scrapes the sky and lets the light in – an oxymoronic melange of glee and melancholy. Which pretty much says all you need to know about Kan Wakan – hypnotic to the point of stupefying. Drugs go well with this, I would imagine. Though Brumnotes insists: score responsibly. Kites are looking upwards at these high flyers. Welcome to the stratosphere.
* An edited version of this review will appear in BrumNotes magazine