In Art I Trust


blog door Vincent Bruijn 

Kunst blog, artikelen over beeldende kunst, hedendaagse kunst. Kunstblog Eigen Kunst Eerst! wordt geschreven vanuit Amsterdam.
Jamie Hince

Jamie Hince

Somewhere in 2004 I felt the urge to discover new music. Not necessarily new as in ground breaking in technological sense, I just had the feeling there should be more people around who play the musical style and record the mood that I fancy.

My crave, keep in mind this was the pre-Spotify era, lead me to play records at record stores and seek the internet for MP3's of various bands. It left me with an unsatisfactory feeling though.

I had always been fond of the darker melodic songs supported with groovy guitar riffs, like songs from the Sticky Fingers or Exile on Main Street albums of the Rolling Stones or any of the more anarchistic but gloomy Nirvana songs. After a while I discovered The White Stripes, famous for their blues oriented and stripped down songs, supported by a minimal setup of voice, drums and guitar. I was intrigued by the way Jack and Meg were able to build a sonic landscape with minimal instruments, yet rocking it! I was lucky to see them live in Amsterdam in 2005.

About the same time I ran into the Kills. I cannot recall precisely how I encountered their music but I was hooked. This was even more minimalistic than the White Stripes: recorded in a very DIY way, raw and punky yet melodic due to the female singer, Alison Mosshart, who has a powerful poetic voice.

And then that guitar playing, that swampy, groovy playing style, that was something I was very attracted to. Jamie Hince combines riffs and rythm to compose dark undercurrents, supported by a simple drum computer, especially in the early days. He is able to shape beautiful darkness in his playing style, without using too many guitar pedals or other sound effect. His playing is rich yet never over-the-top, very well thought-out but never too sophisticated and or bombastic. The songs become quite minimal yet warm and embracing.

Their cover of Pale Blue Eyes, originally from The Velvet Underground, released as side track on the Kills single The Last Goodbye, is much darker than its original version and sounds like a duet between a guitar and a singer. They stay true to the original version though, but made it more edgy and less lively yet lucid, adding a gloomy undertow.

Similarly I like the dead simple Dead Road 7, a song that reminds me of early raw blues recordings of Robert Johnson. The guitar howls and screeches, the song's lyrics are of great simplicity. Its power lays in the fact that the Kills are able to create a great song from the ingredients.

I've always been a fan of small musical setups: one or two guitars, zero or one bass player and some form of rythm, a drummer or a drumming machine. It all comes together in the Kills, in their mix of UK punk rock influences combined with American blues and rock. Jamie Hince deserves more credit and recognition for his contributions to guitar playing due to his unique style and particular sound.

Photo: Vincent Bruijn, 2014