Kinnship & Pablo Nouvelle – Stones & Geysers
The meeting of English multi-instrumentalist Kinnship and Swiss producer Pablo Nouvelle is some kind of musical kismet. After appearing as featured artists on each other’s respective projects, the duo found themselves working together on what would become Stones and Geysers, their first full length collaborative album. Across ten lush and gorgeous tracks, Kinnship and Nouvelle’s musical dialogue takes the shape of blooming electronic folk; at times warm and ebbing, at others like shards of granite.
It’s not entirely new territory for Nouvelle, whose own solo work finds itself in a similar soulful and melodic electronica space. With the addition of Kinnship however, Nouvelle’s sounds take on a sort of meditative and contemplative quality. This is due in part to Kinnship’s dream state vocals, which often float atop Nouvelle’s soundscapes. They open almost in prayer on the too short-lived Sentiment, while on Hearing The Quiet, it’s almost a chanted mantra, harmonising with itself and highlighted with gentle bursts of crystalline “ah’s” that pierce through the texturally rich trip-hop percussion. On the moving Frank Miller, it’s a hummed intonation that hides between the stirring strings and forms a droning backbone for a gorgeous piano ballad. Nouvelle’s production takes on various shapes, from bass pulsing garage on the excellent Medicine, to laid back funk house on the title track and even tech-house on If Not Love. But these influences feel like subtle whispers, as for the most part Nouvelle creates for Stones & Geysers a fairly distinct palette and sonic aesthetic that never strays too far from its gentle and contemplative soul. There’s touch of jazz to tracks like Fly In Formation or The Wholesomeness Of Waiting, an intertwining of Kinnship’s instrumentation with Nouvelle’s electronic formulations that are essential to the sonic identity of Stones & Geysers. Previously heard single Kilo and If Not Love have the most pop radio leaning melodies, and their hooks are particularly potent when taken against the more ruminative melodies on the rest of the record.
Thematically, Stones & Geysers seems to find Nouvelle and Kinnship exploring moments of transience; arrival, departure and the space in between. Yet while these concerns make for music that often oscillates between melancholia and meditation, Stones & Geysers never really seems to arrive at a conclusion to its own theories. The music is effectual, but risks bleeding into each other in the way everything feels washed in the same tones of emotional gravitas. At its weakest, this gravitas borders on overwrought sentimentality. Light of Day or Hearing the Quiet, for instance both sound like the sort of royalty free music one might encounter on a wellness app. But when combined in just the right measurements, the result of the Nouvelle / Kinnship recipe is completely transportive.
Watch the music video for the title track from Stones & Geysers below.
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