Ken Camden - Space Mirror [Kranky - 2013]Space: the final frontier. While this is the case for Earth dwelling adventurers, it's not quite the case for musicians. Since the late 60's, musicians have had their sights on the stars and used their guitars and synthesizers to travel there. Space based music is nothing new, but the depth and scope of the universe allows for seemingly infinite ways to sonically interpret one's journey through the cosmos. The latest such journey comes to us from Ken Camden. Ken is a member of the Chicago quartet, Implodes, and this is his second solo effort.
Space Mirror is a really creative album. The sounds themselves are lush, but nothing mindblowing, that is until you realize that they're being made by a guitar and effects rather than a synthesizer. With the exception of "Moon," the tone on the album feels more thoughtful and hopeful rather than dark and brooding. Compare the shifting, tremolo drones on "Moon" to the soft and hypnotic pulse of "Spectacle." The tremolo effects aren't limited to "Moon" and darkness, though. The closer, "Dominic Sunset," features a heavily tremolo'd guitar backbone. My thought on this is that the tremolo helps to reinforce the oscillation and arpeggios created with a synth. It may be a tad heavy at times, but it definitely helps to trick the listener. "Eta Carinae" sounds especially synth like. The pulsing guitars have a bowed feel to them and the pacing and tone reminds me a lot of Goblin.
Ken Camden has created a really well thought and effective album. It makes one feel like he is standing on the bridge of a spaceship looking out at the passing stars. This journey is one of hope instead of terror. The direction Ken chose to go in on Space Mirror is refreshing. I look forward to hearing more of his work in the futurePaul Casey