Best of Kong: 1988-1995

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Released in the middle of Kong's open-ended career break of the early 2000s, this collection encapsulates the groundbreaking Dutch group's first musical era, which contained three albums of daring, mostly instrumental experimental hard rock verging on heavy metal. Applying the greatest-hits treatment to a band of Kong's unconventional nature is always a tricky proposition, but Best of Kong: 1988-1995 handles the challenge capably enough, tracing the group's trajectory chronologically and inserting a handful of rarities into the mix so as to spice things up for collectors. The first of these, a demo of first-album highlight "Fair" (recorded two years prior to that album's release but already sounding admirably refined), sets the stage for what's to come: a liberal blend of heavy guitars, programmed synth stabs, hyperactive percussion, ambient accents, and strange sound effects combined with a highly disciplined and technical performance. The resulting songs, and especially standouts such as "P.r.o.k.o.v.," "Results," "New," and the previously unreleased "Workbank 3" are consistently rich in dynamic tension and compelling mood swings, offering a sonic experience which, though certainly challenging and even disorienting upon first listen, quickly starts making sense like any good riddle. Another career high point, the positively epileptic "Stockhouse" -- blending manic thrash metal guitar riffs, radical synthesizer bleeps and chirps, and both analog and electronic percussion -- is not only rendered in its original version, but also as a bonus video track. All in all, this set provides an excellent first glimpse into the wacky world of Kong, as well as a nice bonus-track-rich wrap-up of the group's original incarnation.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:07
2 2:36
3 2:52
4 2:27
5 3:06
6 2:42
7 3:24
8 3:08
9 3:13
10 2:39
11 3:46
12 2:50
blue highlight denotes track pick