Reviews for Kynans Albums and Compositions
Kynan’s Composition Solo In Red performed by Collider
CD 1000 Wide – Enrusk
The Age 2003
Rating 4 Stars
Trombonist Kynan Robinson’s En Rusk creates soundscapes filled with racing improvisatory duels with other members over repeated quirky off kilter melodies, and dramatic changes in musical direction. While some tunes are rumbustious rhythmic explorations, others have beautiful song structures……adventurous music.
Leon Gettler The Age
Rating 4 stars
This follows their captivatingly quirky release 2 years ago. The result more edginess and risk taking. Griswald plays the prepared piano on three tracks, creating the feel of something approaching a percussion orchestra and adding a depth that was not there before. On Travel a Moment Without Fear for example his gamelan like lines over Fischer’s shimmering volcano creates aching tensions. But the drawcard is the eclecticism and the endless capacity to surprise.
The Bulletin Magazine
Melbourne trombonist-composer Kynan Robinson won a lot of praise for the original sound presented on his first album, ‘En Rusk’, a few years back. The follow-up is an even stronger set, presenting compositions whose combinations of melodies, rhythms and textures constantly keep the listener guessing what might happen next.
Herald Sun Newspaper 2003
Led by trombonist and composer Kynan Robinson this Melbourne outfit has released a second album that builds grandly on its debut of a year or so ago.
Here is a blazing testament to the robust health of the Melbourne jazz scene, with Robinson’s collaborators fully sharing his determination to make music that is adventurous, startlingly original and intensely enjoyable.
The music frequently swings hard and offers up lashings of funkiness, but those accessible rhythmic foundations are adorned by melodies both jarring and beautiful.
The Planet ABC 2003
“1000 Wide” – the second CD by Kynan Robinson’s En Rusk – confirms that the quintet’s debut was no fluke. The trombone-wielding young Australian leader is both improvisatory player & meticulous composer, his music always logical yet often surprising. He likes to juxtapose the hot with the cool, the funky with the ethereal.
John Clare Sydney Morning Herald 2004
The music on 1000 Wide would be fascinating if the disc came in a brown paper bag, but the artifact is itself important, awakening the senses immediately, as any collector of Blue Note, ECM, Impulse, Contemporary, Riverside and other great labels will confirm.
So logically does track follow track on this beautifully recorded disc that long sequences sound as if they are all the one suite, full of contrasts, of dancing percussive exuberance and limpid harmonies. At times it sounds like a concerto
This is a very pleasing disc indeed. I’ve had it for a while and it still sounds very fresh. It sounds fresh and vivid behind me even as I try to concentrate on what I am writing. If you haven’t begun collecting Australian contemporary jazz and jazz-related music yet, this would be a good place to start. Then get the others I’ve mentioned above.
Herald Sun Top Ten Jazz albums of 2003
2. Kynan Robinson’s En Rusk – 1000 Wide (Newmarket Music): Startlingly original funky music from a staggeringly talented Melbourne outfit.
All About Jazz.com
En Rusk, led by Melbourne trombonist Kynan Robinson, has quickly become one of our best bands..
Perhaps this is one of the key factors of the Australian style, if there is such a thing – the ability to create challenging, sometimes-spiky and angular music but imbue it with a classic groove.
KYNAN Robinson, trombonist, composer, and band leader, typifies jazz players who are making brilliant and original music, which can loosely be defined as a new Melbourne sound.
Imbued with the spirit of jazz, they never feel restrained by its traditions, all the while avoiding the outer reaches of the experimental.
Their music features solos, but puts as much emphasis on ensemble playing.
For writing inspiration, they are as likely to look to European, classical, and other sources, as they are to jazz immortals.
Ironically, these attributes find them sharing a philosophical approach — if not musical specifics — with the likes of Charles Mingus and Duke Ellington.
Reviews for Old Des Peres’s Album “Preserved
Rave Magazine – Queensland
An air – kissing gorgeous twist of a disc…instantly likeable, gobsmackingly sexy little teasers. An ambitious disk with an aesthetic and philosophical depth to the trio that instantly belies the playfulness of its surface. An absolutely delightful and essential listen.
Lucky Magazine – Melbourne
Old Des Peres is a rare bird… kinda techno/beats..drives along ..with a jazznoir thing going on, sexy and twisted
4 ½ stars
Inventive Melbourne dance and event band Old Des Peres have produced an energetic, vibrant debut album called Preserved.
High energy dance vibe is mixed with industrial, art scene samples. It’s brash and harsh, driving and yet balanced. It is creative.
Gershwin’s An American In Paris gets distorted effortlessly. Luva DJ’s occasional vocals are treated with appropriate disdain and remain just plain funny. This is dance music designed to put a smile on your face.
. Thanks Iannis is beautifully reflective.
. Get the CD.
“15 cuts of pure, mish-mashed electronic goodness.”
The Mix review 2004
The final act, Old Des Peres, could well have earned the title of my new favourite band! Their live show, completely unique and unprecedented, can only be described as an incredibly bizarre fusion of highly charged, rock’n’ dance beats (typically Melbourne in flavour) wickedly matched with stolen, familiar samples (ala Avalanches) with the furor and frenzy of a Public Enemy meets James Brown Gospel Revival. Throw in the antics of a Machine Gun Fellatio stage show, the twisted (and often meaningless) sick humour of a Sodom Circus performance and a blender or two (no joke) and you’ve got the next big thing in live dance music! honestly, you gotta catch these folks live.
The Scene Magazine June 2003
The sounds that Old Des Peres makes is a concoction of fluctuating beeps, squeaks and squelches with croaky, crunchy beats and airy spaciousness. It’s brave, it’s new, its noise and Old Des makes no apologies The Scene Magazine June 2003
Undoubtedly one of the most exciting acts to come out of Melbourne in a long time
Listening to their debut CD Preserved, you can hear everything from The Avalanches to Bjork to even remnants of the techno scene they emerged from. It’s when they play live however that the music is taken to another level
MX – City Beat 2004
“… they put it (the music) together in a way that has fans and critics raving.”
“Their live shows are something completely different….. and it’s this energy that Old Des is able to translate onto the album Preserved that will be sure to preserve the group not just within the techno and electronic music scene”
This debut from Old Des Peres is a cauldron of styles, genres and tempos, ranging from chunky big beats, rolling restrained bass lines, ethereal female harmonies over dark squelchyness with myriad eclectic samples. Eminently playable, definitely danceable, and refreshingly original this album is both an affirmation of club culture and judgment on its vacuousness. A true homegrown top tip.
“Something for everyone….most certainly a party is going on and one thing is clear, these guys follow no rules””
Old Des Peres (Robinson) is really operating in a refreshing vacuum, not being influenced by the electronic fraternity and crafting an ironic party album that’s a hell of a good time.
In The Mix Album Review
What we have here is an strikingly mature, at times touching debut release where an understated Detroit sentiment wins the day over brain numbing decadence. Think of the best moments from Felix’s Kittenz and the Glitz and mix in the intricate soundscapes of the Avalanches and you have in your hand one of the most original, interesting and thoughtful Australian releases this year.
Reviews For the Album En Rusk 2001
Robinson is more than just a highly skilled player. He makes highly individual music full of creative surprises. This album is one of the more auspicious Australian debut albums. It’s a particular pleasure to hear someone so individual. Robinsons compositions are are meticulously are variously structured, free of clichés.
Kynan Robinson is an articulate player and thought-provoking composer.
Robinson deserves heaps of praise for this gem of an album. He has written breezy, distinctive compostions that leave plenty of room.
…carefully chiselled constructions of time and spaceand texture. Each idea is nestled into another like a babushka doll. Not a hint of cliché, no trace of melodic retreads.
Reviews For The Escalators
Herald Sun Album Review
It is surprising how well this music, inspired by artistic concepts of David Lynch, stands up independently of it’s links – obvious in the title tracks – to Twin Peaks. The Lynch pin track, 23 minute Log Lady is slow to develop, but totally absorbing and unexpectedly restful, despite it’s mood of mystery, dark portents and events unfolding.
The composer, Kynan Robinson has created a well integrated journey into sound. Horns give a sense of space and significance, while DJ element adds snippets of voice and bird calls that are not out of place. This is a surreal body of work worth unwrapping
Sydney Morning Herald
Inspired by the Baron of the Bizarre
Banal and bizarre . . . the Escalators’ leader, Kynan Robinson.
Avante garde jazz group the Escalators get their lift from filmmaker David Lynch, writes Bernard Zuel.
Kynan Robinson found a kindred spirit in the filmmaker David Lynch. The Melbourne musician, who has played jazz, electronic and between-the-wars blues, and the American creator of bizarre and beautiful films such as Eraserhead, Blue Velvet andMulholland Drive and the TV series Twin Peaks have never met, but they have similar structures, obsessions and a thing for bacon.
Robinson’s group, the Escalators, is an eight-piece avant garde jazz ensemble that includes a DJ manning turntables and sampling. What else sets them apart are live shows where their slowly evolving, sometimes disturbing and opaque music is married to set designs and film that play in a similar sandbox of mood, repetition, beauty and what they like to call Lynchian weirdness.
The group’s album is called Wrapped in Plastic, an echo of the most famous line from Twin Peaks, which Robinson began watching again as he composed. But the Lynch connections go back to what Robinson calls his ”rules” for composition, both in music and the films he makes and commissions for Escalators shows.
”For me Lynch is someone who really investigates the idea of normal, starting with the cliches but going down into it so thoroughly that it starts to become abnormal,” Robinson says. “I would apply that to music, composing cliched parts for various instruments but then have them repeat those parts over and over again, get them to sit right on that point of normality and if you just keep doing that it then starts to create a sense of oddness about it.”
In Lynch’s world the banal and the bizarre co-exist, making true the observation that there is nothing more odd than the “normal” way people behave.
”That’s exactly what I was looking at. That dual structure that Lynch does, that was another of my rules,” Robinson says. “We have dual narratives running through – even though the music is non-narrative, it’s stasis – there will be dual ideas that might run simultaneously that don’t appear to relate to each other.
”The other thing about Lynch, he operates obviously in the subconscious but he also operates a lot in memory: how memory works, the decay of memory, how memory can create truths or lies which become truths. When you bring a turntablist or someone sampling in you are already working with the ideas of memory. So those are the three big things in regards to Lynch [and Escalators]: normality; the idea of dual-ism; and the human memory thing.”
The Necks, the Australian trio who also straddle the area between jazz and art music, in recent years have begun using visual elements in their famously improvised shows. The films made by percussionist Tony Buck ran the risk of ”defining how one might think”, as Buck acknowledged. However, as he told the Herald: ”The stuff that I do with video kind of operates in the same sort of timeframe, with the same ambiguity and sense of slowly unfolding, as the Necks music does. I really liked the idea that they are parallel, quite separate things [and] the video material that I use is either quite ambiguous or it’s very, very simple, very slowly moving, in a way like moving paintings.”
Rather than moving pictures, Byron Bay musician Gyan three years ago toured with the Melbourne cartoonist and commentator Michael Leunig, who sat at a desk set up within the semi-circle of the band on stage and his drawings, inspired by the music played around him, were projected onto a screen. “I don’t want to shove that meaning or fix that meaning but to be abstract, to have vision, it can take you deeper with the music,” Gyan says. ”Sometimes I like to throw some imagery behind because to have your senses all met can be brilliant.”
Speaking of all senses, the Lynch-Robinson bond extends to the olfactory. “I reckon there are certain scents that are associated with David Lynch, too. Fried bacon is a really strong association with Twin Peaks,” Robinson explains. “If you release that into the audience it will do something. We are trying to create an atmosphere within the space where we control everything in the space we perform in. You’re not just getting onstage and playing music but the visual thing, the scent thing, the lighting that we’ve designed, also work under the same rule structure for the same aim.”
Smells like teen spirit. Or bacon.
AUSJAZZ Review Of Live Show
So, what was (the concert) like? I thought all sorts of things during the playing and I think that’s part of what it’s about. Log Lady is totally absorbing and it takes you on a journey that could easily be like a David Lynch film. The music creates a world that suggests strangeness and mystery, with the hint of events unfolding. I found that my awareness of each musician’s contributions shifted throughout, so that I would become aware of my awareness of Joe Talia’s amazingly even and unwavering rhythm for a while, then have my attention grabbed by a sharp burst from DJ Element, then notice the stillness of Hannaford at the piano, then a few notes from him, then a delicate intervention from Folvig on guitar.
I also noticed how I began to look for those brief and simple horn interventions, which added a sense of space and of reverence. I came to depend on them arriving and passing at intervals, and I thought about how easily the mind can be led into such expectations and carried along by patterns, even if the intervals between repeated themes are quite long.
DJ Element’s contributions were sharper and a little louder than in the album mix, but they always seemed to mesh with what the others played. I’m not sure where the samples were from, though possibly from Twin Peaks, but it did not seem to matter. I don’t think we were meant to look for some sort of hidden meaning in the snippets or in the glimpses of visual imagery. To me, the benefit of this Escalators concert lay in its ability to carry us away into our own landscapes of the mind, and its ability to free us from any requirement to find any specific meanings.
I am not doing any sort of job here of describing the processes going on in terms of changes to rhythm, tempo, chord changes, dynamics or harmonies. But I don’t think that is needed. Each musician played their parts. I appreciated in particular the horn interventions, including some free work by Pat Thiel, the standout drum work by Joe Talia, the DJ obviously in his element, and Lawrence Folvig’s exquisitely delicate guitar work.
Was I wrapped in plastic? Well, I was rapt and the gig was fantastic.
Roger Mitchell AUSJAZZ.NET 2010
Melbourne’s Kynan Robinson is well known for his contributions to bands such as CW Stoneking, The Primitive Horn Orchestra and more, yet it’s his work as The Escalators which truly pushes boundaries; calling on all his talent and daring to fuse auditory and visual aspects in a truly engrossing live show.