b. Connor Kirby-Long, 24 July 1986, Vermont, USA. Going by the adopted name Khonnor, this American folktronica artist began recording and releasing music at the tender age of 15. Using a guitar and basic drum and loop programming, and relying on a home computer and a low-grade microphone for equipment, Khonnor forged a unique sound blending introspective, bed-sitter folk with textured, layered electronica and the noise-happy ambience of shoegazer rock. Khonnor released a series of EPs (Grandma and I, Cactus, among them) over the Internet, and began to garner a cult following. Khonnor’s lyrics are largely biographical and confessional, and while his narratives are often weighted by the angst of teenage life, there is a startling sophistication to his productions that belies his age. Khonnor began working on his 2005 album debut, Handwriting, before he finished high school, a process complicated by problems at school and with the law. The finished result, however, was a lush, melancholy, and very personal album. Strains of digitally manipulated guitar, and floating synthesizers created dreamy textures and ambient soundscapes, offset by punky blasts of static, digital glitches, and other hallmarks of IDM deconstruction. Khonnor’s songs still tackled the trials and tribulations of adolescence (and understandably so), but they did so in a way that was sensitive and honest, and proved a provocative counterpoint to the edgy production. Handwriting was released on the UK-based Type Records to widespread critical notice.
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