Album review: KENICHI & THE SUN ‘WHITE FIRE’

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With lockdown rules still looming for most of the country for a while yet, there’s been no better time that now to dig your teeth into some innovative new music. Introspective art-pop artist KENICHI & THE SUN – aka Katrin Hahner – released her stunning album ‘WHITE FIRE’ last month and we’re here to tell you all about it, so hold tight!

Kicking off with the breathy delight that is ‘A Tale Unfolds’, this track really sets the scene for the whole album. Katrin’s uses ASMR techniques to add further more immersive elements to the track as she combines woozy electronics with rich, evocative vocals throughout.

Previous single ‘Splendour’ is a particularly stand out track as it kicks off with the sound of what seems to be a heart monitor machine, before getting even more dark and ominous. Fans of the likes of Sylvan Esso will certainly feel at home here as Katrin compliments glitchy electronic moments with softer piano tones, creating a truly striking sound as a result.

Another stand out track is Katrin’s latest single ‘If Loved’. A track that once again showcases Katrin’s undeniable skill for creating experimental electronica that not only makes you think, but takes you on an introspective journey that is full of sonic twists and turns to captivate you further.

Talking about the album, Katrin elaborates, “the centre of the fire, where heat is the strongest, is white. Nothing remains, except for that which is truth.” The album itself represents a puzzle of sorts, each interrelated song capturing a portion of Hahner’s journey, revealing clues which together provide a portrait of the greater truths she’s discovered and of her motivation for this exploration. The record was inspired by a number of significant circumstances, some of which are difficult to discuss: the loss of her father and the suicide of a close friend; the recognition of her dependence on bad habits and her determination to overcome them. Others were less traumatic: long stretches of time spent in solitude in Iceland, in snow or beneath the midnight sun; her rediscovery of musical forces like hip hop and rap, as well as encounters with less succinctly defined spiritual forces.

The album closes on the rather brooding track ‘Fake Scars’, as the song builds, so do the ethereal soundscapes, holding you tight as if not quite ready to let go. This album isn’t going to be for everyone, but if Bjork-esque trippy electronica is your bag, then definitely give ‘WHITE FIRE’ a go. It will not disappoint.

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