With a throbbing beat and an ominous presence within the lyrics, ‘I Too Overflow’ is like a machine possessed with a desire for a soul. A tortured one. By contrast, ‘Dudu (Play)’ is a playful extravagance into the madness of creativity. Both are consummate highlights from the new album by Kino, a British artist without fear in the studio and an explorer of originality.
British artist Kini (full name Kini Echeverria-Valda) may have Bolivian roots, but she grew up in the Cotswolds. Her brand of experimental electro-pop is endearing and genuine, recalling various works by The Knife, Bjork, Esthero and Fever Ray.
‘I Too Overflow’ is a proud acknowledgment of my own tendency to overflow, with fear, anger, frustration, idleness… We all do, but society says it’s ugly to show that you do. I’ve always felt this pressure to suppress, conceal and withhold facets of myself; there’s always been pressure to conform in this way,” says Kini.
“The song ‘Dudu (Play)’ is about the, at times, tyrannical pressure to compartmentalize ourselves; how in order to face the world, we feel obliged to disassociate aspects of ourselves to present a more “acceptable” version of ourselves in order to participate. I personally feel weighed down by this obligation. I’d rather be unified in my own version of unsuitability and incorrectness”.
Right from the offset, Kini carved herself out as the alternative kid at school, playing guitar and screaming in bands. Fuelled by a fascination with the recording process and intrigued by the growing potential for immersion into a solitary composition, her curiosity led her to record demos in studios, acquire a Tascam 4-track cassette recorder and eventually study music technology at the college. With no formal education in music, she was free to experiment with compositional software and found that, in the vastness of these programs, one could find the potential for the unconventional.
Forever the wannabe weird kid, she started making her experimental electro-pop music inspired by the likes of Bjork. An introvert and keen observer, Kini is inspired by the found sound compositions of musique concrète, as well as the musical output of Bjork, The Knife, Kate Bush, Juana Molina, Aisha Devi, Holly Herndon, Gazelle Twin, Kyoka, JLin, Jenny Hval and U.S. Girls.
By sitting quietly and critically listening to her environment, a track can often begin with recordings made, for example, during a busy commute. Utilizing sound manipulation techniques, she has learned throughout her education and her own experimentation. Her tracks draw on an eclectic mixture of sound sources, incorporating in both electronic and acoustic elements. For instance, her song ‘Icaro’ was made using a sampled broken piano, vocals, and an ironing board.
While the finished piece may retain a little resemblance to the original sound idea, it’s through this process and ample experimentation that Kini makes sense of the chaotic world around her, by channeling what she absorbs into the music making process. This experimental approach was inspired more recently by artists such as Holly Herndon and Gazelle Twin and fostered throughout the university, culminating in a Masters in electronic music composition, and her own unique blend of the natural, the industrial and the electronic.
Today Kini is a creative audio post professional with experience with BBC, The History Channel, and Shepperton International Sound Studios. As a dubbing mixer, sound editor and sound designer, she has prepared audio for TV broadcast, film, online delivery and other content distribution channels.
Most recently, Kini contributed vocals for the forthcoming EP from Broken English Club’s Rust Ballad under her latest moniker Blood Powers, and has teamed up with the Swedish cutting-edge label The Sublunar Society to release her debut album ‘A Room of One’s Own’.
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‘I Too Overflow/ Dudu (Play)’ is out as of April 6, the same day as the international release of ‘A Room of One’s Own’ album. Both will be available through online stores, streaming platforms, and The Sublunar Society’s own Bandcamp. The full album will also be made available on limited edition CD via the label’s website.