Don't Climb on and Take the Holy Water


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Don't Climb on and Take the Holy Water Review

by Ned Raggett

After a string of strong, often explosive albums, Kinski aimed for the quieter side with Don't Climb on and Take the Holy Water, which actually wasn't a Kinski album, as such. Recorded precisely in order for them to indulge in calmer explorations live on-stage without advertising themselves in their more well-known guise, the guitar players of the quartet -- extending the German film references of their main name -- appeared around Seattle as Herzog for such shows. Compared to Chris Martin's solo work as Ampbuzz, Herzog's efforts can certainly be more forceful and less meditative, though often only by a matter of degrees. If anything, Don't Climb On is a fine counterpart to the vivid, murky explorations of Bardo Pond on their self-released volume series; a comparison heightened by the flute Matthew Reid Schwartz plays. The core of the album, "The Misprint in the Gutenberg Print Shop," runs nearly half-an-hour, and comes from one September 2002 show in particular, beginning with an almost doom-laden, slow-paced bass from Lucy Atkinson before evolving into a deliberate, careful swirl of building sound. Schwartz's flute adds a soft beauty to the sound collage of feedback and echo that assembles itself, at one point sounding like a forlorn, buried ghost amidst huge guitar howls. Still, the main impact comes from the alternating between powerful drone blasts (especially from Atkinson) and restrained, reflective playing, perhaps an obvious alternation, but one assayed with skill and grace. It's a bit of a shock to hear the one audience member yell "F*ck yeah!" at its conclusion, but it's an understandable response. The remaining tracks -- shorter snippets from rehearsals and a studio session -- have their own virtues: opener "Never Compete With Small Girls" is as near-minimal it gets, while "Bulky Knit Cheerleader Sweater" scores on both noise level and title, easily.

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