kixnare – digital garden

Kixnare - Digital Garden coverThe internet, we love it right? Same goes for audio production software which enables almost everyone to convert their creative outbursts into listenable mp3′s, soundcloud entries, youtube video’s and so forth.  For us, by us has gotten a whole new definition over the years. But is it all that good?


Don’t be alarmed, this is not going to turn into some hate-driven article about the web and production. This is still an album review, but to emphasize a part of the beauty of Kixnare’s Digital Garden (2010), a short and personal view of modern day music making is necessary.


So let’s get into albums real quick. What is an album? 18 or so tracks in one package? Around an hour of music? To me an album should not only be a showcase of the artist, but also a product of coherence. It’s not that albums nowadays are bad, but pick up any album from the last 5-10 years, open the booklet and check out the credits. You’re bound to see a shitload of producers and sometimes more featuring artists than the total of tracks. Often the music itself sounds more like an artist compilation than a full-fledged product.



Of course that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but sometimes it just feels wrong. Wrong like a book with chapters that have no connection with each other than the writing style of the artist. And that’s exactly why we call those books “a collection of short stories”. I really don’t want these kind of albums to disappear, but maybe it’s time someone coined a similar term for them as we have for the books.


What this all has to do with “Digital Garden”? It’s one of those releases which really is an album, from start to finish. The first time I was exposed to the sounds of Kixnare was on the first free compilation called Diggin’ Deeper (2007), which featured the track Time Travellin. The track was a Pete Rock’esque instrumental beat: A moody but steady sample collage on fat and groovy drums. After pressing play on “Digital Garden” it doesn’t take much time to hear that Kixnare has really revamped his sound in 3 years time, without losing the feel I loved so much.


With track titles like Dawn, Natural High, Rising Sun and Never Do U Wrong, it’s pretty clear this has to be a positive album. The drumsounds have been modernized to a more drumcomputer feel but they’re still groovy as ever, and the mostly melancholic samples are now accompanied by sweet little leads, stabs and arps. One of the most important aspects, and that’s why I put up the little intro, is that each following track matches the one that came before. While that may sound a little dull, every track has it’s own little surprises: A muffled vocoder here, an extensive lead there… nothing sounds the same, but nothing sounds out of place.


The whole thing is soaked in reverb and delays, emphasizing the vocal cuts and taking of the harsh little edge of the sweeping synths. All in all, the whole album is balanced just perfectly, making it the ultimate lounging background soundtrack as well as a piece you can really drown in when listening focused.


Check out some tracks through Youtube below. You can follow Kixnare on Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud and buy the album through Bandcamp for only EUR 8,-!