Glow

Kaki King

Glow

Fans of Kaki King’s early recordings will be pleased to learn that with her sixth studio album, she's gone back to her all-instrumental style of percussive string music. But 2012’s Glow isn’t so much a return to form as a progression of her original style. Even when accompanied by such traditional instruments as bagpipes and a string quartet, the Atlanta-born/Brooklyn-based composer and guitar virtuoso pushes the boundaries of possibilities, starting with “Great Round Burn.” It’s an apt title for a song performed at the barn-burning pace of breakneck bluegrass yet trimmed with short, allocated bursts of playing; these somehow create a sweeping, panoramic soundscape overflowing with more dramatic tension than any human voice could create. Rather than going with standard studio reverb, King modifies a guitar with a shim of wood fastened on the 16th fret to create twin fifth notes on each side of the instrument’s neck. As heard on “Bowen Island,” the result sounds both exotically Eastern and otherworldly in its innovation. King contrasts spatial balance with busy swells in “The Fire Eater.”

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