Video for Sexy Sky
the nkr - love house (Lifetime records)
Broad approach / Broad appeal
On paper, this LP shouldn’t work. A classical violinist and his missus, an actress, who doesn’t sing, have a stab at dance music! They’re old enough to be dance floor dinosaurs, for heaven’s sake! Influences? Some obscure old 70’s outfit (Throbbing Gristle) and some arty bollocks artist (Bruce Naumann) from America!
Old, obscure, weird, experimental? Nope, the opposite.
Commissioned originally to be about all the stages of love, from initial meeting to, as Gwenda puts it, ‘post coital after glow,’ the LP ended up moving beyond this theme.
First track ‘Cruise,’ however, hit’s the accelerator, 5th gear and we‘re in glitz n’ glamour Ville for the next forty or so minutes.
Come over here, we’ll go for a ride,
Entertain me, while a drive..
Perhaps oral pleasure in more ways than one, this pun laded three and a half minute quickie, is all clever cut up beats, vocoder vocals and dramatic strings; The strings reminding me of one of Kylie’s better moments, ‘Confide in me.’
Still going hard at it, ‘Sexy Sky’ is all talk of love, sky dives n’ high wires. It’s Ibiza, summer and if Barry Manilow was a house producer, he’d be happy with this - a Copacabana for the club.
‘Delectable’ fondles a ‘peachy’ bum and brings in the humour, with a witty male and female flirtation,
I’m a skinny girl, you’re?
‘Beau Monde’ is the first of a few electro pop numbers on here. It neatly sums up the LP.
The hooks - get under my skin, nagging cuts demand my attention, replaying themselves later in the random jukebox of my head.
Lyrically, words are used sparingly, nothing used for nothing - it’s puns galore, all excellently delivered; She’s a sexy, cheeky, naughty vocalist. It’s odd, I hardly noticed that Gwenda barely sings a note.
The content is perhaps a tad tired at times. ‘Knick hers’ is amusing, but owes something to Lou Reed’s ‘Walk on the Wild side’ and ‘Wild West’ should doff a cap to the Arctic Monkeys and Pet Shop Boys.
Production by RU Goddard, Tyrrell and chiefly by Minski is top draw. The string arrangements and individual violin loops and melodies (as you might expect from a classical violinist) abound, but never tire.
The guitar playing on ‘Surrender,’ reminds me of Johnny Marr / The Smiths, which adds more to the melting pot.
The intro to ‘Wild West.’ is stirring, rousing, exciting stuff. High class composition.
‘Test Case’ is the black sheep of the bunch. Not a beat in sight. One of my favourites, it highlights Minski’s love of minimalist composing and surely shows the influence of Steve Reich. The hypnotic musical repetition is repeated in ‘Delectable’ and the amusing lesbo chat of ‘Clickety Clack’.
Around twenty years since the first house record, here is an open-minded album, diverse in influence, throwing much needed spice into a pot that in recent years, has been a dull dance floor dish.
‘Love house’ is a title that spells it out; it’s also a rare breed - A diverse dance floor dozen - broad in approach, but broad in appeal.
Click here to listen to all the tracks.
the nkr interviewed
A Dirty Dozen
‘everyone should be
exposed to art and their creative possibilities.’
The nkr are a duo. A professional classical violinist and an actress, with a love for clubbing and each other.
Together, they began making glitzy, glamorous house music in 2007. Their friend Rob Page, boss of the successful series, ‘The Lover’s Guide’ (a guide to more fulfilling sex) commissions a track for the end credits to a new dvd. He is impressed. They are inspired. Rob Page then becomes their manager. The trio each put their money to their music to create a label and debut album.
By Dylan Strain
To name drop a few.. He’s played with Take That, Morrissey, The Pretenders and The Dixie Chicks. He has his own classical group, ‘The Duke Quartet,’ who’s last major release was minimalist composer Steve Reich’s ‘Different Trains.’
He is Minski; ‘named after a short story by Marquis de Sade, called Minski the Cruel: a cannibalistic ogre!’ writes Gwenda (in an email, as part of our to and fro in discussing the LP.)
'Gwenda was my aunt's name, she passed away five years ago and was also an actress'.
Minski (Rick Koster) and Gwenda (Vanessa Goodliffe) are married and live in Brixton.
Minski has a flair for composition. I asked: How has Rick found making dance music compared to classical? How does he see his future as a musician from here?
‘Minski thanks you for the compliment! He loves the directness and metabolic energy of dance music and would love to continue creating this kind of music with that kind of vibe. Playing classical music is more rigorous intellectually, which is stimulating but isn't sexy (doesn't engage the base chakra!!!). It's great to have both!’
The record was recorded both in New York and largely in London. Minski recorded the tracks in the early hours of the morning over an eight month period, ‘discovering that his creative juices flowed freely in the early hours.’
Gwenda’s lyrical influences range from her past performance poetry days with her friend; ‘Simon's style of writing used alliteration and word play which influenced my lyrics’ to versatile American artist Bruce Naumann, ‘His approach to language: succinct with a play on words. We also like our lyrics to have an impact, but also brevity which is akin to Naumann.’
The pair were also heavily influenced by 70’s industrial music pioneers Throbbing Gristle and Simon Ford’s biography about them, ‘The Wreckers of Civilisation.'
‘Firstly, it’s their commitment to pushing boundaries; they were able to do this because they weren't contracted to a large corporate recording company (in the mid 70's this was quite unique.) They all had other jobs to finance their artistic pursuit.
Secondly they started as an art movement called Coum Transmissions. A philosophy of theirs' was that everyone should be exposed to art and their creative possibilities.
Thirdly they stood outside of mainstream mediocrity and banality and didn't care what people thought.
The main inspiration in the band for us is Genesis P - Orridge. 30 years on and he's still out there pushing the boundaries.’
The nkr’s philosophy is clearly akin to these ideas. Their Myspace offers ‘experimental electronic music, crossing every known boundary.’
This is an honest statement. Ironic then, that what they’ve actually created is a debut LP that, in the main, is a record with popular appeal and quality to boot.