Review: Andrew Paine – Kledon (self-released, Apr 26)

Despite its largely dark and unsettling atmosphere, listening to Andrew Paine’s new release Kledon sort of feels like putting on a new jacket that already feels like you’ve worn it your whole life. The Glasgow sound artist’s choice palette of abstract vocalizations, shortwave radio, whistle, and what sounds like minimal digital processing often reminds me of music I already cherish dearly: Mosquitoes, Double Goocher Shop, Michael Barthel. These aren’t detrimental similarities or lapses in originality; it’s more like Paine is asking the same questions, ruminating on the same oddities as those other artists. Or perhaps he isn’t at all, and the end results happen to bear resemblance. Either way, it’s only one of the reasons why I feel so drawn to Kledon, even at its modest sub-twenty-minute run time. Robert Moss provides the release’s fitting epigraph: “Be alert, as you go about your world, for the first sounds that come out of the silence or out of the shapeless noise of a city street.” This release seems to consist of those sounds that emerge from the silence in which we so humbly stumble around, unwitting witnesses to the thoughtless utterances and reactionary gestures of a detached consciousness scrambling for a physical foothold in our world. Under, atop, and amidst a sparse smattering of shifty electronic transmissions, Paine’s vocal contortions gradually gain some semblance of intelligibility until they finally begin to resemble actual words and sentences—a futile accomplishment, as part II promptly comes to an end right afterward. What casts the shadows into which Kledon invites us? Will we ever know? Will we ever escape?