Danny Saul – Kinison – Goldthwait (CD)
To have the names of two of the most famous comedians of the 1980’s, let alone two engaged in one of the harshest feuds ever between any comedians as the title of the album, with artwork to match, could leave the prospective listener with a number of different notions regarding the music contained in this album. Personally speaking, having never heard any of Danny Saul’s previous albums, the first thing that came to mind prior to listening to this release was that it could be an electronica influenced album, with lots of tension and relief, and loads of samples by both comedians embedded randomly within the music. I couldn’t have been any farther from the truth…
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“Kinison – Goldthwait” is Danny Saul’s second full length under his name, and the latest in many releases that he’s been part of, such as Tsuji Giri, Xela, and Liondialer. That last one being a collaboration with the excellent Greg Haines, who earlier this year gave us one of his finest albums, “Until the Point of Hushed Support” (a definite must have/hear/love). “Kinison…” is also Danny’s first release on Hibernate records, who have also provided us with some excellent records, most notably Marta Mist’s “Distance / Skeletal / Union”. Something I should’ve noted prior to making my dark ambient / electronica assumption, as this album continues the label’s trend in releasing fine drone drenched experimental music.
The project’s concept focuses upon one incident on the Howard Stern show, where the outspoken Sam Kinison slammed Bobcat Goldthwait for being “Whoopi [Goldberg]’s bitch”, stealing his roles on films, and called him a second rate actor, and to his name goes the first half of the record. The three part Kinison starts the album in a delightful mood, lush ambient soundscapes, piano, and somber drones. Going in stark contrast to the man’s (Kinison’s) reputation and attitude whose stand up act was epitomized by his screaming, cursing, and sometimes borderline racist jokes. That being said, he was also seen by many of his fans as one who spoke “the truth”, a god amongst men, and that’s probably the side of his humor that Saul exposes in these first three tracks. The mournful comedian who used his outspokenness to cover his sadness at the world around him and in turn guided his audience to a better understanding of the world around them in a highly intelligent manner somewhat similar to that of Bill Hicks’.
Upon the conclusion of this suite, the mood starts to swing heavily with more elements of noise being introduced and the album shifts from the Eluvium influenced soundscapes towards more Ben Frost or Tim Hecker influenced ones, and this is when the album starts to shine.”Robert Francis (Bobcat Goldthwait)” has loads of anger contained in it. There is a lot of anxiety in this; turbulence is everywhere, and a train of thought halted before reaching a conclusion. This anxiety and tension reaches boiling point in the following track and Saul’s talent is further revealed. Alas, most of the more significant moments can be said to “sound like x” or “seems like it’s influenced by abc”, there is always another artist’s name popping up in one’s head during listening to the album. It is in no way unoriginal, but at times can be noticed and is something that many artists struggle with in their earlier albums. However this definitely shouldn’t be taken as any kind of flaw in the album. At the end of the day, it is the music that counts, and in this case there is wonderful experimentation contained within “Kinison…”.
The final track of the project brings the whole thing back full circle, and the sadness evaporates. A piano melody scattered upon a field of reverbed soundscapes brings this to a somewhat happy ending. In real life, those two never found peace with each other, but Saul evoked that feeling of peace being found. In his mind, the feud ended and the listener comes out of this journey refreshed. “Kinison – Goldthwait” is an album that in less than three quarters of an hour captures several emotions and the order of the tracks helps this purpose completely.