They say long live the king, but in the ever-evolving landscape of music, reigns are not immutable. In the quarter of a century since his self-crowning entry into the musical realm, Kenny Anderson, the multi-faceted artist behind the moniker King Creosote, has released over a hundred records. His endeavours have ranged from DIY pop to collaborations with the likes of Jon Hopkins, KT Tunstall and many more. And now, despite the twists and turns, he presents his latest creation: 'I DES'.
'I DES' is more than just an album title; it's a playful anagram of 'Dies', hinting at deeper layers. The title is a nod to KC's main collaborator this time around, talented multi-instrumentalist and co-producer Derek O'Neill, known as Des Lawson. O'Neill has been a key figure in King Creosote's recent work, contributing to albums such as 'From Scotland With Love' and 'Astronaut Meets Appleman'.
Reflecting on life's existential questions, the track 'Blue Marbled Elm Trees', released ahead of the album, has an uplifting essence. In his own words, "I shan't complain... I had the best life offered up". The song encapsulates the album's themes, exploring life, death, the universe, art and love - territories familiar to King Creosote's introspective songwriting.
The album encompasses a diverse musical landscape. Tracks such as 'Susie Mullen', 'Walter de la Nightmare' and the expansive 36-minute 'Drone in B#' demonstrate the breadth of King Creosote's musical exploration. The sonic tapestry weaves vibraphones, accordions, e-bows and a unique blend of instruments across its canvas. The album combines the wonders of synthesizers with Anderson's distinctive voice creating a melodic journey rooted in the essence of fife.
The resurgence of ambient and modular sounds in King Creosote's repertoire can be attributed to a number of influences, from the mesmerising artistry of Nils Frahm to an enduring fascination with loops. His newfound interest in these sounds also stems from literary inspiration, such as David Stubbs' book 'Future Days: Krautrock and the Building of Modern Germany.
'I DES' was largely written between 2016 and 2020, yet it's a compilation of the old and the new, the borrowed and the blue. The album interweaves elements from different timelines - from aged home tapes and vocals to lyrics from bygone eras. KC humorously suggests that an alternative title for this compilation could have been 'We All Got Synths for Christmas'.
Beyond the music, King Creosote - the singer, the songwriter, the storyteller - is a reflective individual. His artistry has weathered many storms, always evolving and embracing the growth inherent in life's turbulence.
As 'I DES' beckons from the horizon, it promises to be not just an album, but a musical testament to King Creosote's enduring creativity and exploratory spirit - a journey through the wonders of sound and the depths of personal reflection.