By James Mann
In his latest self titled release, Kiile manages to evoke such a wide range of feelings along with poignant, emotive and complex arrangements for an incredibly satisfying ride. Operating under a fine level of constraint, he manages to layer beautiful pads, lead melodies and driving percussion to create a perfect balance. Coupled with wonderful production, each track maintains a signature feel without become cliche….a delicate balance in the world of retrowave with so many artists configuring and executing similar sounds. Some tracks are made for dancing, and some are perfect for that sunset walk on the beach. Kiile pulls it all off in true form, and gives you the options to take the wonder of his tunes anywhere.
‘Dancing With a Ghost’ immediately smacks your speakers with a lovely and heartfelt arrangement. The dream is real in this one. A sweet arpeggiated synth and 4/4 beat immediately capture the mood. (and your heartstrings) Choice layering and melodies build to culminate in the perfect drop out. A slow and steady phased re-entry comes full circle to make the second half of the song even more desirable and energetic than the first! There is a huge Timecop1983 feel/sound in this, but I actually prefer the warmth and speed of this track more than other paced out and slower retro ballads. Class act Kiile, you have our attention.
Los Angeles powerhouse Future Holotype joins forces for a So Cal tour de force in ’Strangers In the Night’. Visions of a John Hugh’s movie races montage styled clips through my head with craft and care, the energy is so palpable AND enjoyable. A constrained and effective buildup of that pulsing bass and shimmering leads coupled with warm pads tears through in high retro-force impact. (I’ve come quickly to realize this is the Kiile sound) Superb and highly emotional vocals with one of the catchiest verses and refrains I’ve heard all year slay this composition and truly deliver some of the best this expansive scene has to offer! It’s effortless and stunning. A solo unleashes over the epic structure and demonstrates some truly fine talent from both of these synthficionados. Well done gentleman, one of my favorites on the album.
Taking the energy down several notches through the land of sensual and sultry, it’s time to pop that top shelf bottle of wine to romance that special someone. Whether she is curvy and sleek, or truly that one in a million, (heck even both) it’s time for romance. A candlelit dinner followed by a censored after hours rendezvous is imperative when I hear the emotional powerhouse ‘Constellations.’ Glassy and thoughtful melodies groove and meld together like two bodies in the night, the passion and heat radiating from each snare clap and chord progression racing and moving towards maximum pleasure. This is one beautiful woman…I mean song! One of the more mature and gorgeous tracks on the release, this is a masterpiece. Does anyone have a towel?
As the day ends and the uncertain cloak of darkness takes over, he reminisces on a time where he could feel her. She was the one who couldn’t come soon enough, yet left all too quickly. The rain drops slink down the window as smeared streaks of light dance through the mismatched drops. Refracting light through his blurred eyes and sadness pays that familiar visit, the realization is reinforced that she is in fact gone forever. ‘Business Class’ immediately strikes a pensive and somber wave of feelings that encapsulate all my senses and being. A Richard Marx/Phil Collins blend of incredible synths open this massive track and maintain their strength throughout. I am immediately transported back to 1985. There is a sense of sadness and pain coursing through, but accessible enough to come through as the most impactful tracks on the album. It’s actually my favorite.
The bell rings. Second period is over and the east wing hallway is now packed with the excited bustle of students, one step closer to their 3 o clock freedom. Strategically you steer right alongside the blue wall of lockers, knowing you will see her. The bouncing blond curls, high set cheekbones and crimson lips. It’s a familiar sight, but the rush of adrenaline and intensity feels like it’s the first time ever. ‘Into Your Eyes’ swiftly switches gears and takes you to a more innocent time in life. We were ruled by emotions, the prospect of the bell taking you one step closer to fun and summer, and anticipating the familiar sight and scent of your summer crush. The moods and synthesizers in this stunningly beautiful composition make these days we will never see again so tangible and real. She flashes a coy look and smiles as you pretend to stare beyond her. She stops. Press play. Kiile finishes the story.
‘Motion Pictures’ continues the dreamwave factory from Kiile, bringing a sweet and melodic composition showcasing crystal and razor sharp production overlaid with sweet guitar shreds. His driving beat and signature bass allow for powerful Juno-like synths to occupy the most nostalgic of headspace, transporting the listener to another dimension. Space, stars and fast motion planets come to mind as I am able to imagine myself far away from the constraints and bustle of work, life and responsibilities. This is a wonderful piece that provides the much needed therapy after a long day at work.
‘Across The Blue Oblivion’ is a ballad for the ages, the slower side of Kiile that transcends time. Heavy lending to the MPM/Timecop1983 sound, the influences are there but he really brands this one as his own. A distant and almost eerie yet comforting sax dots the synthscape for an unusual and pleasing effect. Slow and well planned, this arrangement manages to evoke such a sweet mood. Memories of the past and future collide for a spectacular demonstration in restraint and finesse. I love this. The maturity in sound and production is exceptional and puts Kiile in a class of his own.
Dune Cruisin’ rides the line between romance and power. Two strong and dominating aspects of our everyday life. Another driving arrangement from this SoCal musician displays yet another powerhouse track full of sophistication and class. Warm synths and more Juno sounding leads take you through dream sequence Kiile. The momentum of any Kiile track is lasting, and this one is no exception. Another solid execution and a thoroughly enjoyable piece from Kiile.
‘Out Here Alone’ brings the pensive and heartfelt vibes of sadness and loss in the Kiile arsenal. These beautiful and lasting melodies are exceptional, and to be honest right up my alley. I feel music is meant to touch on not just sadness and loss, but also hope and happiness. Having the ability to demonstrate such a wide range of progressions to encompass both is truly a beautiful thing. All of the right layers are present here. A sense of isolation and warmth comes through and Kiile really knows how to handle and execute. Top track and my second favorite on the album.
Kiile manages to bring something to the scene which reinforces the beauty and joy in songs that capture the best of our 80s and retro sensibilities. Weaving through tempos and synthesizers used to define the decade of anything goes, each track is an exceptional stamp of authentic and emotive work. Not shying away from a variety of moods, it’s evident this artists digs deep to express himself. It’s so easy to get lost in space, time and your imagination with the sounds of Kiile. This without a doubt is one of the strongest releases I’ve heard this year and any lover of dreamwave and all around quality music would be remiss not to add this to their collection.
The album is available on Kiile's Bandcamp here and comes very, very highly recommended by Synthetix.FM.