So, it turns out that Savages are a pretty big deal. Mercury Prize nominations, top 20 albums, collaborations with big name rock stars – the UK indie trio are the kind of band who appeal to Millennials and their older sisters, while getting rave reviews in the mainstream press. They also put on a storming stage show.
All of that might have passed us by – in our normal, oblivious and contrarian way – were it not for the side project of Savages’ bass player, Ayşe Hassan. Kite Base, a collaboration with bassist and vocalist Kendra Frost, came onto our radar as the opening act for Hannah Peel. Let’s face it: there aren’t many dueling bass duos on the circuit these days, and they made speakers shake while Frost’s voice soared around the room with the richest resonance. They also had a deft drum machine called Alan.
A handful of videos followed, along with a glorious 7″ single, “Soothe/Dadum.” After they covered a Nine Inch Nails track, the legendary producer John Fryer got in touch to borrow Frost for his own project, Black Needle Noise. More live dates won Kite Base a following across the US and Europe.
As summer starts, the duo are able to reveal their debut album, Latent Whispers. Have there been whispers about latency? Is there a delay between the input of whispers and results? We don’t know where it comes from, but the title is part of a rather intricate package. From the Craig Ward logo to the fade-out of “Miracle Waves,” Latent Whispers is carefully wrought: nine songs on white vinyl, any of which could be a single. We are sorely pressed to try to choose between them.
There are other electronics carefully deployed to round out the sound, but Latent Whispers is a masterclass in rhythm. Below Frost’s vocals, beats and grooves intertwine. Alan does his best to keep time as accurately as Jaki Liebezeit, while Hassan plucks at the strings of a million hearts. It’s stripped down but complex; ethereal but earthy; post so much more than punk. A diamond in a rough year for music.
Kite Base on the Web: http://kiteba.se/