boycalledcrow - Kullu

Released: May 3

Kullu is an album that gives us a glimpse into the fond memories of its creator through extensive field recordings and reinterpretations of them. Based solely on a yearlong trip to India taken by boycalledcrow (Carl M Knott), the rich sonic expereiences he captured while there are ever present throughout the album, forming the base of nearly every song. Along with these incredibly detailed recordings, Knott also fuses his own compositions into them through his very particular style of guitar playing as well as the slicing, rearranging, manipulating, and placement of each individual piece of recording.

There are some pieces in which he adds more and some in which he adds less to the original recordings. "Vipassana" is one of the one in which he simply uses a recording all its own with quite a bit interpretation. It is a somewhat cacophonous sound with repetitive quality that sounds a bit mechanical in its tone. Something like a jackhammer going off on the sidewalk as large metal or wooden wheel clack and roll along a roughshod road.  Alternatively, "Tuktuk" takes a broader approach as Knott forms an enitre compostion around a recording, integrating everything so perfectly that it is difficult to tell where the original sound is in the mix. It's a bright and lively track that has celebratory air to it as Carl's guitar playing noodles along in a repeating but captivating melody. It stands out on the album for me simply because this seems like the most upbeat and, dare I say, danceable track.

But what this album really excels at is creating this pastiche of faded memories that veers heavily into the abstract. Some of the recordings he managed to capture on this trip are nothing short of magical. "Sadhu" starts out with a simple recording of hand drumming, clapping, and a small group of singers singing a folk song that I would have no clue how to identify. This then morphs into obscure pads and textures that intermittently give brief glimpses back to the original, maintaing an odd atmosphere that feels like a very real place in time but is now unclear and faded. This is just one of the many examples of the unusual amalgamations Knott has has pieced together from his extensive audio diary.    


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