Vancouver’s Whitney K recorded his album Goodnight at home, on a 4-track, and his songs carry that kind of intimacy throughout their sound and lyrics. It’s a little bit folk, a little bit country, and very narrative, with a gripping story on each track. It’s released by Maple Death Records as a cassette tape, packed along with a handy download code.
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- Goodnight by Whitney K
8/10 Robin Staff review, 21 April 2016
The 4-track is the lunchbox of the music world. You can take it with you to work! You can have a sonic picnic! It is rucksack adjacent. In this case, though, Konnor Whitney just keeps his in his bedroom and records onto it as and when he feels, which is how ‘Goodnight’ sounds: at turns whimsical and wistful, it sounds like he recorded these songs on momentary melodic epiphanies, like he was humming a new tune to himself in bed and had to get up and scratch the songwriter itch. “Swans” is a delightful little tune that takes forceful melodic lines and then lets them abstract around strings from the Arthur Russell School Of Things, as well as additional harmonies that bring about a fullness, exacting Whitney’s fleeting half-ideas.
A lil’ treat of juxtapositions, this tape sounds loose and yet very disciplined, tethering together songs as if one happened straight after the other -- it’s the content of the songs that’s a shambles, with the plainspoken Americana of “Favourite One” randomly imploding into a horrid chorus of feedback. We flit straight into “When You’re Blue”, which sounds aesthetically consistent and yet completely different -- surfing twang, diluted strums and a downward spiralling riff. Whitney’s music charms, but how, can I ask, and what’s going on here, exactly? Does he snatch defeat from the jaws of victory or is it the other way round?
You’d expect certain things from a song titled “Running Up The Hill” and you would be shamed for it. It’s nothing but a lightly picked, grain-shaded story that no Kate Bush has ever heard. I think it speaks to the aloof but intoxicating music Whitney’s making: does he know how fragmented and curious his lil’ homemade pop sounds, or is he oblivious? I’ve asked a lot of questions, but here’s a statement: this is a good tape of music. Another: the first side is stranger, and better.
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