Kalbells is Kalmia Traver of Rubblebucket, working solo for the first time. Ten Flowers is a kaleidoscopic suite of playful and colourful electronics, dotted with percussions and field recordings and, of course, Kalmia’s voice, which weaves itself all around and about. Released by NNA Tapes, although it isn’t available on tape: only CD and LP editions!
Vinyl LP £20.99 NNA101LP
LP on NNA Tapes.
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Lead singer of -- yes, for the first and last time, this is their band name -- Rubblebucket, Kalma Traver has here stepped out for a record of pop peculiarities on NNA Tapes. Away from her jam ‘n’ funk day to day, she juggles the past in one hand and the future in another, her oscillating electronics meeting baroque performance in bright, minimal songs. Whistling her way through “Wonder” like she’s in first Willy Wonka film and on “Alonetime” much like one of the smurfs, her smart songwriting is coupled with an intuition towards living life like it’s a cartoon.
Many an album like this would be grating, pulling all its resources into a place that couldn't contain them -- Traver has made a record that adjusts the space needed for the experiments being taken out: the clarity of “Craving Art Droplets” is perfect considering it contains in it horse clip-clops, beaming synths, jazzy drums and arpeggiated chords, all swirling side-by-side like a lightly psychedelic collage. Instead of break them all in one moment of mess, Traver slowly builds to a climax that sounds like Thundercat if he hadn’t tidied his bedroom.
It’s hard to tell whether this album is really chill or super overdriven: I’m struggling to parse the brilliance of “Windy Day”, for instance, as it swirls its ambient textures around like someone mixing up a drink. With horns diluted in the backdrop and a return of those off-kilter drum fragments, the song eventually becomes a throbbing, bassy headache, Traver gleefully switching between serenity and bombast. It's kinda like those dreams you have that seem pretty chill but are, on reflection, a total shambles. It's something of a pop kaleidoscope. It's really quite good.
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