kLL sMTH cooks up couch music to crank to on yet another charmingly chill LP installment, ‘cHLL sMTH Vol. 2′ [Album Review]
He cooks, he scratches, he destroys sets, he rescues stray dogs from foreign countries, and most importantly, he chills. Kristoffer Edland, known widely under his kLL sMTH moniker, has returned with his second rendition of the cHLL sMTH series— a side project of his that features downtempo, lo-fi breakbeats, glitchy narratives, and as the name suggests, a chiller side of Edland that differs from his typical heavy-hitting sound.
Throughout the cHLL sMTH series, Edland has presented himself as an explorer of sounds, samples, and instruments, which has led to many delightful surprises along the course of his journeys. A closer look at the songs on cHLL sMTH Vol. 2 shed light on a curious producer who will stop at nothing to bring his ideas to life.
The album opens up with “Kiwi,” which sets the tone for the rest of the album with spacey synthesizers that melt into a groovy break. The track is presumed to be named after kLL sMTH’s cat, who even has a parting “meow” at the end of the five-minute opener. The following song, “Wawkn,” begins with some vintage lo-fi that you might hear on a Bioshock loading screen which eventually descends into some jazzy flutes that will have you head nodding in your La-Z-Boy as you blow the steam off your tea.
kLL sMTH – Wawkn
The fourth song of the studio album is “Karlito Sway,” which has a swagger that harkens back to Al Pacino’s edgy character in the 1993 film Carlitos Way. So it’s fitting that the song’s cheeky title mimics in a sardonic way. Few artists would use harp chords and Rastafarian vocals in the same song, mainly because few artists are capable of it, but kLL sMTH does so with ease. “Karlito Sway” is yet another song featuring one of Edland’s pets – his dog Karlos – who Edland befriended in a Mexican jungle during vacation. You can even hear his bark if listening closely.
kLL sMTH – Karlito Sway
In the second half of the album, cHLL sMTH continues to showcase his diverse sampling prowess and skills at sonic manipulation. “Intermittent Cyber Crime” features cuts from “Danger” by 1990s hip-hop group Blahzay Blahzay, which checks off yet another genre that Edland has woven into this comprehensive album. In “Bologna Jabrogna,” Edland continues toying with spacey synthesizers that he introduced in the opening track. Fans familiar with Edland’s Ultrasloth project may hear some similarities with this particular song.
kLL sMTH – Bologna Jabrogna ft. Tony Arroyo
Perhaps one of the calmest, yet boldest tracks on the album is “Mellow Dramatic Rock Ballad,” a fuzzy, 99-second guitar solo caressed over an amp. A punctilious listener will hear guitar samples throughout the entire album, that Edland could have recorded himself, but it’s in “Mellow Dramatic Rock Ballad” where he really lets the chords breathe. Does this mean the cHLL sMTH sets he has planned for the summer of 2021 are going to include live guitar?
kLL sMTH – Mellow Dramatic Rock Ballad
In the closing song, “Miss You Dad,” Edland puts everything together— starry melodies, a more confident guitar presence, glitchy melodies, lo-fi fuzz, and plenty of nostalgic undertones. The album transitions from joking and playful to serious and heartfelt, which goes to show that the emotions the tracks evoke are just as diverse as the sounds and melodies their composed of.
Fresh off some revered performances at Charlesthefirst & Friends in Wyoming and The Untz Festival in Northern California, Look towards Sound Haven this July for the next cHLL sMTH live set with several more expected to follow.
kLL sMTH – cHLL sMTH Vol. 2
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Attempting to identify and understand the sonic and cosmic creations that weave their way in and out of our lives. And maybe share a few laughs along the way.
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