This month Toronto artist Kashka comes to Guelph to play with Memoryhouse at Fortnight Music’s Hallowe’en Costume Party at the eBar on October 31st. The show supports a recent album release for Kasha, also known as Kat Burns, who just released her second album, Bound. Kashka’s unique sound from her first album, Vichada, falls into a new genre of music referred to as “folkpoptronica”. Although a complex label, I think it fits perfectly to describe the myriad of sounds on Bound.
Bound starts off with a very happy upbeat electronic track “Never Had It”. Instantly, I’m hooked on Kat’s voice and the composition of the music supporting the vocal track. All too often, female vocalists can come across as too light and airy, and “Never Had It” avoids this stigma by adding solid guitar tracks and keyboards. The instruments really fill out the bottom end of the track and when the song finally drops about half way through, I find myself grooving along and having a lot of fun with the music. The electronic sound has a lot of depth and I find that the layers keep me interested the whole way through the opening track. The second track “Grain of Salt” explores this sound even further. I’m instantly reminded of Alison Goldfrapp’s first two albums, which of course, I loved.
As the album continues, I realize just how versatile Kashka’s sound is and why “folkpoptronica” needs to have so many genres integrated into one word to describe her music. Her music starts as pop electronic and transitions into an almost gothy sound and then takes us straight to trance, and then on to a more acoustic sound. By the time I’ve hit “Lamplight”, I’m convinced that there isn’t anything that Kashka can’t pull off. “Lamplight” is by far my favourite track on the album. The intro is so simple and focuses on her voice, backed by a drum line. Rather than having a drop in the song to fill out the sound, all the other instruments just fade in slowly. All of a sudden you realize that the simplicity of the intro has turned into a full, rich song that compliments the vocals so well.
When you contrast “Prophet” with “Gibraltar”, you can really understand the versatility of Kashka’s writing and vocal ability. The former is a full blown dance track with trance beats. The latter features violins, soft vocals, and a complete focus on lyrics: a real “singer-songwriter” track. And she nails both of them.
“Easy Pray” came as a complete surprise, taking a break from the smooth electronic sound and elegant vocals. Instead, this track layers strange noises and an odd time signature that is different from anything else on the album. I actually had to turn the track up a bit to try and find the melody of the song. Despite the strange layering of noises, Kashka’s voice pull everything back together so that I can still appreciate the song.
The album closes with a slower melodic track, “Bloodlines” that almost has an ambient feels with the siren in the background. While I miss the upbeat tracks that led the album off, I feel like I’ve experienced the full journey of Kashka’s music through the album from folks to pop to electronica all wrapped up into one amazing album.
If you’re looking to listen to some amazing music this Hallowe’en, be sure to check in at the eBar for Kashka’s set, and pick up a copy of Bound while you’re there enjoying the music. You can get tickets on the Music Lives website at https://musiclives.ca/events/fortnight-costume-party-with-memoryhouse-kashka-album-release-special-guest/ I’ll leave you off with a teaser from her first album to get you in the mood: