John Morgan Kimock, ‘Hikikomori’ | Album Assessment | Seven Days

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(Astrology Days Data, constrained-edition CD, electronic download)

John Morgan Kimock was onstage prior to he was outdated adequate for faculty. His father, Steve Kimock, is an underground legend, a guitarist’s guitarist like Robert Fripp or Allan Holdsworth. Steve’s profession has spanned a great number of genres, and, about the decades, his son has joined him on drums for some of those journeys. Most notably that contains KIMOCK’s 2017 album Satellite Metropolis, a knockout rock-soul LP with Leslie Mendelson on vocals.

In latest a long time, John Kimock has become a fixture in the Burlington scene, doing the job with Kat Wright and Madaila and touring with the Mike Gordon Band. And which is just a small slice of what his agenda utilised to be.

Because of to the pandemic, Kimock’s lifestyle as a hectic touring artist arrived to a crashing halt with the advent of coast-to-coastline lockdowns all over this time past yr. He turned inward, concentrating on some solo compositions published on the street and workshopping new materials. The ensuing debut LP, Hikikomori, is a remarkably mature piece of perform.

A sly nod to lifestyle throughout COVID-19, the album is named soon after Japan’s “shut-in” tradition. But this collection is just about anything but tedious. From the opening minute of direct observe “Adore Does,” the sound fuses rock, jazz and electronic vocabularies, united by Kimock’s exclusive ear and fondness for lush arrangements. As on other recent genre-defying regional standouts — these types of as Benny Yurco’s You Are My Dreams and Elder Orange’s Bricks in the Bathwater — the mindful modifying and transitions on Hikikomori aid make an eclectic established a smooth, continual experience.

Kimock’s drum perform, no shock, is exquisite. The musicianship in the course of is top rated-notch, thanks to a wide array of friends, such as his father and Gordon. But Hikikomori isn’t about the youthful Kimock’s percussion do the job or his abilities as a collaborator and bandleader. It can be about developing substantial, textural soundscapes that evoke a authentic sensation in the listener. And by that yardstick, the album is a massive, often surprising accomplishment.

Indeed, for some of the album’s most effective moments, Kimock pulls back again the percussion altogether, as on the expansive “Alyeska” — very likely named following the Alaskan ski vacation resort wherever his quick-lived band Optimum Really like Vibes experienced a brief residency in 2019. Stripped of drums, the composition highlights a majestic melody.

Hikikomori is a great addition to the function of Astrology Times Information, the Vermont label Kimock started with Gordon Stone protégé Patrick “Pappy” Biondo. The imprint’s catalog has been dominated by Biondo’s prolific solo output as KingZeek. But other noteworthy releases have served the youthful label carve out an experimental and natural area of interest.

For example, Biondo aided assemble very last year’s posthumously unveiled The Tunes of Gordon Stone: A Retrospective Anthology, 1 of the most essential Vermont albums of the 10 years so significantly. Astrology Days has also labored with BTV punk-grass outfit the Wormdogs and Lincoln-primarily based people visionary Nate Gusakov.

Even amid this kind of a distinguished lineup, Kimock’s debut is a gem. Hikikomori is an thrilling blast of extensive-open up creativeness and a necessary spin for adventurous listeners.

Hikikomori is available at johnmorgankimock.bandcamp.com.