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Valued Customer


Valued Customer - Kalpa

Kalpa
(independent) - 2013


Michael Panontin
It seems that many a hipster up here in Canuckistan is a dropout from the stuffy and constricting world of classical music. That list would include singers Rachel Zeffira and Austra's Katie Stelmanis as well as violinists like Owen Pallett and Arcade Fire's Sarah Neufeld. Add to it, then, the Toronto-based duo of Patrick Power and Justus Kinloch, the guys behind this curiously oddball collection of songs. The two formed Valued Customer back in 2012, adding long-time friend Chris Baragar on drums not long after and then releasing a couple of download-only collections. Kalpa is the band's third full-length release. "Classical music is myopic, and runs on an inflated value system propagated by donors, grants, groveling, etc.," a somewhat embittered Kinloch explained. "We left that community in search of a musical vehicle that could accommodate our more diverse interests."

Those interests, it would appear, range from quirky new wave that dredges up the moves of XTC or even the long-lost It's Immaterial to perhaps Animal Collective's sonic eccentricities, with a bit of hip-hop tossed in for good measure. On the discordant 'Double Brahma', Kinloch's distorted vocal recalls those frat-rappers of yore Ninja High School, and is thus an interesting example of the latter. And the more kinetic 'Diamond Sigh', which opens the album, is a good bet for fans of the former. Still, for all the freaky pop underpinning Kalpa, perhaps the best bit of music comes when their suppressed formal training seeps up to the surface. 'Quando Quebra' is a glorious piece of pop music that takes some Renaissance vocal phasing (of the sort once pursued by Gentle Giant's Kerry Minnear) and cleverly sets it atop some rather fetching synthesizer beats. Gorgeous!
         


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