Kiffie has released his new album. These are my words on it.
- The End
Kiffie opens this up with a track that fades up with a synth pad that kind of modulates, lots of chorused synthesis in this. In this slice of the pie there’s also a very low arpeggio that you don’t notice on the first time round – but it’s there….
This is the clearest I’ve heard Kiffie’s vocals in a while, and I like it. Not sure what he’s done differently, but there’s something different on this project in particular. I love the choice of snare drum too. Very LinnDrum but polished.
- Hard To Breathe
This is a piano based track, but there’s some synthesis behind this, as well as the addition of bells to give it more of a “DING” to the overall sound. We are still in down tempo territory here, I’ve just noticed something there’s no bassline on either one of these tracks….
- Take A Break
Here we go… Tempo kicked up a notch, and you know it’s coming from the arpeggiated synth that’s right in your face from 0:13. It’s a synth lead that’s been put through the wringer and then coming out the other side… Plus the punchy bass line this makes for a big dance track. I like the almost reggae chord riff as well on top of everything else.
The idea of passing the vocals through the filter is brilliant too, it sounds like the telephone filter on certain lines, which keeps the track moving.
- Goodbye At Last
This is a predominantly piano instrumental – plenty of reverb to give it that really epic sound. But then there’s a cymbal joining in to keep time – it alternates between crash and swell, just so it builds up the tension. Nice use of reverse at the end!
- All Yours
Kiffie digs out the 808 library for this one, the snare is high in pitch so you know it’s that characteristic sound. The cymbal swell is obvious this time.
Oh yeah. This is a hip hop track.
Kiffie’s been known to collaborate with other artists, and this is the turn of Voyage, from Oregon USA. He spits bars fast which is quite a feat over a relatively slow tempo. But he stands up to the challenge. His part of the track goes low to the mix but is still overheard under Kiffie’s vocals – not a problem – hey, singing in rounds have been done since the dawn of time so why can’t the same rule apply here?
- Sense Of Unease
To the title track we go for this one. Kiffie plays a two note riff over a drum beat that’s played at half time. It does switch though with the 808 snare making an appearance again. The main snare is heavy handed but it’s a good one – typical 80s sound like a linndrum sound. I know Kiffie doesn’t have one as I have seen the equipment list for his set up so I reckon this has been pitched down slightly. Moody track. I like the breakdown point given over to drums and piano from the 3:36 mark. It’s an octaved solo too!
Probably the strongest track on the album.
- Learning To Sing
Kiffie goes into reflective mode on this one, a slow piano ballad with the understated drums and arpeggiated subs slightly higher keeping the rhythm.
The lead synth has the feel of an accordion which is probably not intentional, but it sounds good. I like that thin quality to it.
- One Look
This fades up with some cool synth strings! The cymbal swell is back, plus a synth organ coming in and out. The drums are low in the mix here, but Kiffie’s voice is standing out more here. Again, this is where you can tell Kiffie’s influences from the 80s are showing. A bit of Depeche Mode, a bit of Ultavox and more than a little bit of Vince Clark.
- The Light Inside
Kiffie breaks out his guitar for this one, the final track on the album. It starts off the track playing a hypnotic line that stays present throughout the song. The thing about synths and guitars is that you haft to get the blend right, otherwise it just sounds like another synth or sample, and it seems that Kiffie has got it right here by starting the track out with it. This shows his other side, where he could have been an indie kid in a former life.
His lyrics though are very dramatic….
Have a read of this.
“Your sweet kiss is really so delectable,
To taste your lips can satisfy me,
I think it’s time for someone to discover you,
Whoever that is I hope they see what I see.”
That’s the album.
The techy bit: I love this bit.
Roland Tr8s Rhythm Performer, Korg Minilogue XD, Yamaha P121 Digital Piano, Gibson SG and VOX VT40X Amplifier, Shure SM58 Microphone. Recorded and mixed using a PreSonus Audio interface and Audiotonic/Audacity. Mastered using iZotope Ozone 9.
It allows me to nerd out.
Kiffie is a composer of electronic music and songs Inspired by recent events, lies and love, the music crosses genres including electronica, hip-hop, folk and classical. Everything is produced at home, using hardware instruments, synthesisers and drum machines.
His music is emotionally driven and has a distinct, deeply human sound.