Blood Karaoke by James Krivchenia Album review by Stephan Boissonneault for Northern Transmissions

Reading Group

7.5

James Krivchenia

Blood Karaoke

Perhaps best known as the drummer of Big Thief and the producer for their stalwart indie meets outlaw country album Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You, James Krivchenia is a prime example of how much music you can truly make by splicing together random audio and video samples.

Charting at 14 songs, his latest creation in the computer music genre, Blood Karaoke, is a weird concocted amalgamation of found sounds and unwatched YouTube videos he obtained through a random generator. I can honestly say that there is nothing like it out right now.

Sometimes it sounds like the popular chill hop hop beats to study to playlist, other times, it’s completely batshit and sounds like a 1990s Mac computer slowly burning while an ‘80s hair metal band plays in the background.

There’s no real way to describe the songwriting because there is none. What there is on Blood Karaoke is Krivchenia’s meticulous editing skills. Even though the content he used was in fact random due to the generator—clips of Microsoft Office PowerPoint presentations, video game walkthroughs, old local news clips, and more—Krivchenia sifted through this material and meshed it together to form an experimental and surreal oddity of an LP.

Many artists have used this technique in the past as a form of creative release—Blockhead, Panda Bear, Com Truise—but usually only for a track or something never released. You have to give it to Krivchenia for going farther and sticking with what could be called a mammoth idea that many wouldn’t have seen to the end.

“It was a very iterative, long process, lots of editing and putting together little moments or 10 second chunks with lots of samples. The music was conceived to be a somewhat unbroken 40 minute long composition and I think of the singles as excerpts,” he says in a press release.

The song titles are also enigmatic of what the listener might experience, something many music lovers rely on when diving into strictly instrumental music. Yes, titles like “Calendrical Rot,” “The Science of Imaginations,” “Wall Facer,” and “Styles of Imprisonment” sound like prog metal band names, but they also make sense as title for the sounds of each song. Can I say why? Not in a million years. There’s a strange disconnect many musicians feel when naming their songs, especially instrumental songs, but the listener can derive their own meaning.

Order Blood Karaoke by James Krivchenia HERE