Danny Saul is an experimental musician and songwriter based in Manchester, UK. Aside from his work as a solo performer, his involvement in a variety of projects over the past few years have included an ongoing improvisational partnership with Greg Haines (working under the name Liondialer), and a number of notable collaborations and live performances with the likes of Ben Frost, Machinefabriek, Peter Broderick, Jasper TX and Simon Scott among others. His solo album 'Harsh, Final.' was released on his own label, White Box Recordings, at the tail end of 2009.
Saul's debut release for Hibernate, entitled 'Kinison - Goldthwait' is an intriguing affair to say the least. Unlike the song-based explorations of 'Harsh, Final.', this is an entirely instrumental affair, and a venture into darker sonic territories. At times there are nods towards the more textural aspects of his previous album, but this is clearly a move in a different direction again; much of the instrumentation throughout the album has been processed or transformed into something unrecognizable from its original source sound.
The albums artwork and track titles suggest that Saul is taking some form of inspiration from the well documented (although perhaps lesser known) public feud between the American stand up comedians Sam Kinison (foul mouthed ranter), and Bobcat Goldthwait (Zed from the Police Academy films). The dispute (supposedly over who stole whose act) came to a head on U.S. 'shock-jock' Howard Stern's radio show, when a boozy sounding Kinison called up Goldthwait live on air, leading to a rather fiery showdown.
Saul says 'Throughout working on this record, for some reason, I couldn't stop thinking about these three people and this particular incident on the Howard Stern show. That's not to say the music or album is in any way conceptual - it isn't. The track titles may provide something of an 'ambiguous narrative' which the listener can take or leave.’
Musically the album seems to comprise three main parts. We open with 'Kinison (Parts 1-3)', its slow building and somewhat uplifting intro melting into a tape recorded piano segue, then giving way to bleak passages of sparse minimalism, incorporating some Deathprod-esque low end tones and cloudy harmonic clusters, shifting the feel between emptiness and claustrophobia. 'Robert Francis (Bobcat Goldthwait)' adopts a different approach again; low end flutter, static sound and rumble subtly morph into ascending icy tones, eventually becoming a rich layer of interwoven synth lines.
Listening to the album's centerpiece though 'On Howard Stern', the music certainly does seem to work on a parallel with the Howard Stern incident itself; a culmination of slowly building atmospherics that climb to an epic crescendo, erupting into an unrelenting barrage of sound, not dissimilar to Kinison's rage during the broadcast. Hazy detuned guitar drones lead the piece out into the final track 'On U.S Route 95 April 10, 1992', a short and graceful piano based piece, delicately punctuated by a distant hammond organ, up to the final tape 'switch off'.
The pace of 'Kinison - Goldthwait' is surprisingly misleading; a passive listen might suggest an album of slow moving drone based compositions, but a little further inspection reveals that the work is considerably more fast moving, continually shifting from one mood and texture to the next. As a side step from Saul’s ‘song work’, the continuity and depth within ‘Kinison – Goldthwait’, make this a worthy addition to the Hibernate catalogue.
(Words: Harry Towell)
released November 1, 2010
Artwork by Rachel Goodyear, design by John Coulthart.
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