The aftermath of a crisis has two outcomes. It can either break you down, or propel you outward, spawning a revitalization. For the Atlanta-bred guitar goddess Kaki King, who admittedly experienced an “existential crisis” after the release of her last, overzealous record, 2010’s Junior, the answer is the latter. With this year’s Glow, she excels in achieving lightness through simplicity.
Famed for her almost preternatural grasp on rhythm, King returns to her folk roots with an entirely instrumental album. Amidst plucks, hums, and strums, she engages the listener with an immersive, inspiring listen. Standout track “Streetlight in the Egg” amplifies tension through finger-tapping guitar so fluid, you almost forget it’s just one woman with a guitar.
Celtic undertones make their debut on opener “Great Round Burn” and continue on “King Pizel”, while the ambient instrumentals backing “Skimming the Fractured Surface to a Place of Endless Light” buries itself into your consciousness like a lone, forgotten film projector clicking in the background. The spectrum of emotions vary drastically as well, from the tinkling “Bowen Island” resounding like a breeze weaving in and out of Chinese lanterns, to the rapid-fire strumming of “The Fire Eater” that speaks with a sinister tone.
Possessing the uncanny ability to create visceral scenes with a single instrument, King dispels any notion of singer-songwriters as one-track minded. Through a playful, emotive manipulation of noise, the acclaimed guitarist challenges the boundaries of acoustics through just six strings and a whole lot of rhythm.
Essential Tracks: “Streetlight in the Egg”, “Skimming the Fractured Surface to a Place of Endless Light”