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Until We Felt Red

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Audio CD, August 8, 2006
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Until We Felt Red + Glow + Legs to Make Us Longer
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Kaki King has never been one for convention. Her third album (following 2003's "Everybody Loves You" on Velour and 2004's "Legs To Make Us Longer" on Epic) is certainly no exception. Over the last few years, she's enjoyed well-earned status as the zeit-girl of instrumental acoustic guitar. Here she bests herself and defies expectation again, ditching her acoustic for an electric, lap steel, and perhaps the most unexpected instrument of all: her own voice; disarmingly winsome and sweet for a woman with so much attitude. The haunting melodies are sadder, the lush orchestrations are fuller, and the sharp edges can cut.

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It would be reaching to equate Kaki King's new direction with Dylan's electric debut at Newport. Yet there's no doubt the New York-by-way-of-Georgia musician has taken a sharp left turn with her third full-length. After two discs composed primarily of acoustic guitar, Everybody Loves You and Legs To Make Us Longer, King has added vocals to her arsenal (something she first experimented with on her last album). It could have been a disastrous move. Fortunately, King, who actually started out as a drummer, hasn't morphed into a standard issue singer/songwriter--just as Dylan didn't abandon his folk roots when he plugged in. Rather, her minimalist musings add texture to the atmospheric, post-rock proceedings. And just as her fret work has been described as "singing," her fragile voice is but one ingredient in the mix, which includes bass, bells, and brushes. On the eight-minute "You Don't Have to be Afraid," for instance, she only sings near the beginning and the end of the track. Most vocalists would surely do the opposite. While previous recordings garnered comparisons to axe-slingers Michael Hedges and Preston Reed, the John McEntire-produced Until We Felt Red more closely resembles the sweetly melodic sounds of Lush or Asobi Seksu. McEntire (The Sea and Cake, Tortoise) also provides drums and "things" (synth, vibes, programming, etc.). Once described by National Public Radio as "The Queen of Acoustic Guitar," Kaki King could use a new slogan. How about "The Queen of Lap-Steel Shoegaze Pop"? --Kathleen C. Fennessy


1. Yellowcake
2. ...Until We Felt Red
3. You Don't Have To Be Afraid
4. Goby
5. Jessica
6. First Brain
7. I Never Said I Love You
8. Ahuvati
9. These Are The Armies Of The Tyrannized
10. Second Brain
11. Soft Shoulder
12. The Footsteps Die Out Forever
13. Gay Sons Of Lesbian Mothers

Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 8, 2006)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Velour Recordings
  • ASIN: B000G2YCR4
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #152,622 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Rifugium on November 21, 2006
Format: Audio CD
Volume I, issue XIX

The multi-talented guitarist Kaki King is back with a new album that is completely different from anything she has ever done in the past. If you know Kaki, you probably know her best for her fret-tapping guitar styles, and unique style of acoustic-based song writing. But this album is really a complete change of sound and style for her. Edgy, diverse and dynamic, Until We Felt Red could very well be her best endeavor to date. In fact, as her previous albums were mainly solo instrumental projects, she now seemingly has a full band, and has moved beyond songs that are entirely guitar-centric. There are vocals--and lots of them; very good I might add--and many other instruments that make for a splendid show of Kaki's compositional skill and innovation. This album ranges in style from loungy jazz to haphazard (in a good way) post-rock.

"Yellowcake" starts the album out beautifully: Kaki, as it turns out, has a very pleasant, ethereal voice, and she harmonizes so elegantly it's a wonder that she never sang (much) on her previous albums. The title track brings back instrumentation, but it is at this point where you realize that things are a bit different: slide guitar accompanied by slow, heavy, fuzzy, electric guitars. When first listening to this album, and this track in particular, it became apparent that King was making an attempted reach into the realm of post-rock, whether she knew it or not. And it turns out, her attempt is rather successful. "You Don't Have To Be Afraid" features more pristine vocals, and a full array of amazing instrumentalization from organs to chimes all overlain over an acoustic guitar passage in an amazingly delicate sunshower of musical beauty.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Danny T. on August 12, 2006
Format: Audio CD
Please, oh please, Kaki, can't you just keep repeating the "sound" of your first two records over and over and over? GIVE ME A BREAK. ...and she did just that! Don't buy this record if you're going to be disappointed when you find out it is almost completely removed from the soundscapes of her first two records. Buy this record because you enjoy progressive art, you like Sufjan Stevens, you like Sleater-Kinney, you like CHANGE! Kaki is one hell of a guitar player, but she's more importantly and less well-known as one hell of a MUSICIAN! She can pick up just about any instrument and learn to play it almost immediately. I watched her first pick up the lap steel when she was on tour with Robert Randolph, and two years later, she has made it a major staple on her latest record. Same with the baritone electric guitar.

This record has a great flow from beginning to end, and I can't say there is a single track that I have been skipping, even after a dozen listens now.

The first review below is excellent at summing up this latest record from Kaki King. I agree that this record will be praised across the musical board, from jazz critics to indie critics, to acoustic guitar critics. She's not just a flash in the pan; she is one of the most important new original artists to emerge in the last 20 years, and will continue garnering critical acclaim as time passes. Just watch...and just buy this record. If you don't like it, you might consider getting into movies or theater.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By kt on January 4, 2007
Format: Audio CD
I came across Kaki King quite randomly as I was browsing reviews on emusic. A longtime fan of "alternative" music in its myriad forms, I had never heard of her before. Thankfully, I know her now after being blown away by this album. The production by John McEntire is outstanding--and, yes, I do happen to love Tortoise and The Sea and Cake--but King's sound is uniquely hers. The album is mostly instrumental punctuated by delicate vocals, masterful guitar work, and lush soundscapes. As other reviewers have noted, each song creates its own, singular world and yet manages to fit seamlessly into the whole. Listening to this album from beginning to end is a rare treat--the songs are complete and they flow beautifully. If you have not heard of Kaki King before, do yourself a favor and discover her now!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By L. Joe Sullivan on August 8, 2006
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Kaki King has shown herself to be a very eclectic artist. From her first release, to her most recent."Until We Felt Red"

Such artistry,such creative energy....Every cut is rich with imagination, and heart and soul...

From someone so young...it's truely amazing the rare and special gift this recording offers, to the listener who dares to open up and let the music take them to nirvana...

Don't pass up this beautiful music...Kaki King is the REAL THING.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By CEL on January 26, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Unfortunately, it's painfully obvious that most of the (negative) reviewers on this page are falling into the time tested art of ridiculing an artist for expanding their art form and trying something new. Like Elliott Smith and Bob Dylan, Kaki King is being subjected to judgment for moving from a stripped down, solo acoustic singer songwriter format, into a more fully fleshed out (and ultimately better) art form. It never ceases to amaze me how certain fans will turn against the artist they admire for trying doing something different instead of repeatedly releasing the same style of material.

This is the first record where Kaki King has had vocals over more than one track. For me, this is a very welcome change. Her previous records are wonderful in their own right, but tend to become background music after a few tracks of instrumental acoustic guitars.

Until We Felt Red is much more attention grabbing.

Songs are punctuated with interesting, experimental instrumentals. Kaki's vocals are beautiful, delicately sung, almost whispered. From "Jessica" - a touching track about Kaki's sister's relationships to "First Brain", Until We Felt Red maintains a wonderful quirky narrative, one that is unafraid to be unique. Her technical live track looping is absolutely incredible. I highly recommend any aspiring guitar player go see her play!

I have to address some of the complaints made about this record:

To say that it is not catchy is to state the obvious.

THIS IS NOT A POP RECORD. Its melodies are structured with a bluesy, jazzy progression. However, If you are looking for a delicate opera- rife with emotive, intricate guitar playing- please tune in. You will not regret it.

I was happy with everything about this record.
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Kaki King on My Space
I agree 100%. Kaki is a powerful force, with an ethereal method. She's really "out there", in a very good way. Completely individual in style. I simply love her sense of "mood." A talented musician; I have become a devoted fan. Take me away, Kaki!!!
Sep 29, 2006 by George B |  See all 3 posts
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