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CD Review: Steve Kilbey & Martin Kennedy

Unseen Music Unheard Words (Second Motion)


It's tough to find two musicians better at creating vivid worlds of sound and vision than Steve Kilbey and Martin Kennedy — especially on the same continent. With the Church, Kilbey has been charting the cosmic waves of Australian space-pop for 30 years. Kennedy has written and produced eight albums of ambient instrumentals for his Aussie ensemble All India Radio, a band that features cinematic architecture as good as anything by Air or Tortoise. The two have teamed up on Unseen Music Unheard Words, with Kennedy composing the music and Kilbey adding world-weary vocals.

These 12 songs dream up a whole new planetoid of celestial downtempo music, circling moons with names like Pink Floyd and Thievery Corporation. The record flows as naturally and unobtrusively as musical lava — molten rock full of symphonic guitar work, melancholy synth, supine lyrical poetry and vaporous background effects. Songs range from sunbursts of acoustic guitar ("Maybe Soon") to dark, bass-y electro ("Naked as a Star"), mixing serpentine violin with female backup vocals and echoing drum machines. A companion piece to the Church's 2009 Untitled #23 and All India Radio's 2009 A Low High, Unseen Music adds another level of mystical power to these otherworldy artists. — Keith Gribbins

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