It’s been a while since we’ve heard from The Mars Volta mastermind Omar Rodriguez Lopez, pretty much since The Mars Volta disbanded in 2012. It’s been even longer since we’ve heard from former Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciate, who left that band in 2009. He’s actually been playing with Rodriguez-Lopez for a while, throughout the course of TMV and since he left. Now the two are collaborating in a new band, Kimono Kult. The band, which also consists of Frusciante’s wife Nicole Turley, Terri Gender Bender of Le Butcherettes, and more, are releasing a four track EP, Hiding in the Light, on March 4. Here’s how their Bandcamp page describes the new project:
The hazy horizon of Los Angeles. Since it iproves perpetually unpredictable, it is not odd when one finds their co-conspirators in disparate locales, often smoothing out the vague and jagged status quos that are only a figment of our own minds anyway. Enter KIMONO KULT, who’s initiates include current and ex- members of Mars Volta, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Bosnian Rainbows, Swahili Blonde, Le Butcherettes, Dante Vs. Zombies, and Raw Geronimo – all who are adamant that this is not some “all-star” vanity project. In fact, one cannot even SEE Kimono Kult – one can only HEAR Kimono Kult (in theory with the true definition of OCCULT as “something hidden”).
A new project recorded, produced and shot-called by Neurotic Yell CEO and Swahili Blonde mastermind Nicole Turley, Kimono Kult synthesizes all the signature styles and influences from a cream of crop wrecking crew she has at her immediate grasp. Vocally fronted by the untamable Teri Gender Bender (Le Butcherettes, Bosnian Rainbows) their debut EP “Hiding In The Light” are four songs of electro/dub/afro-beat/ avant-freak/jazz-like conversations of instrumental ecstasy.
Opening the record, you hear Omar Rodriguez-Lopez (Mars Volta, Bosnian Rainbows) backwards string-arrangement on “Todo Memos el Dolor” (“Everything, Anything But The Pain”), initially reminiscent of Scott Walker’s “It’s Raining Today” before the drum machines anchor it into more modern territory. Teri’s shrill vocals plead with hybrid emotion as they tip-toe through the minimalist abstraction, while hallucinatory synths help narrate the tapestry. “Las Esposas” (The Wives) begins with a mysterious spoken-word intro, referencing a taunting, dusty 16mm film that may hold such Jodorowskian phantasmagoria, beckoning the character like an estranged lover as Omar’s slithering guitar line interlaces science-fiction beeps/bloops over Nicole’s pounding electro-rhythm. “La Vida Es Una Caja Hermosa” (Life Is A Beautiful Box) sees some fractured, sour synths filling voids between a post-punk dub foundation, while guitar interplay between Dante White (Dante Vs. Zombies, Starlite Desperation) and John Frusciante help build a mountain of subtle sonic thunder before it all dissolves gingerly into unanticipated silence. The EP ends with it’s catchiest accessible track “La Cancion de Alexandra” (Song Of Alexandra), an anthemic procession of self-realization where devotion and sacrifice hold hands. Some playfully sophisticated strings from Laena Geronimo (Raw Geronimo) push and pull with dueling trumpet lines to the forefront of this defiant, re-imagined march, Terri Gender Bender taking the role of the writhing Pied Piper as the credits begin to roll of this brief but incredibly resonant recording