On the brinks, you play between
The right and the taboo
I would go, confess it all
But I don’t know you
Kai Tak, a music collective from Los Angeles spearheaded by producer Chris King of Cold Showers, blends elements of shoegaze, trip hop, and electronica. The group’s name pays tribute to the now-defunct Hong Kong airport, renowned for its exhilarating flight path amidst the city’s towering skyscrapers. This project is a heartfelt ode to the cinematic portrayal of King’s birthplace in the works of directors like John Woo and Wong Kar-wai, as well as the city’s dynamic essence. The collective’s music, enriched by the diverse insights of its collaborators, serves as the perfect accompaniment for exploring the city’s shadowy backstreets.
The new single “Blush” is the result of an unexpected collaboration between Kai Tak and vocalist Claire Roddy (Dol Ikara). This partnership came about by chance when the two artists were paired up for a live performance.
“Chris came to me with this transportive instrumental while I was dealing with a bit of a writer’s block,” says Roddy. “These lyrics are an ode to that very moment of inspiration where suddenly feelings, words, and melodies spring right out from the drought, as instantly and vulnerably as a blush.”
“When Claire explained the meaning behind her lyrics, I almost couldn’t believe it,” adds King. “The music also came to me during a bout of writer’s block, which was broken by one of my old tried and true methods – watching a visually stunning movie on mute and composing music inspired by the imagery. In the case of ‘Blush,’ the inspiration was Fallen Angels, which has always made me feel like I’m permanently suspended in the most beautiful fever dream.”
In the song’s haunting lyrics, one encounters a tale of enigmatic and illicit entanglement. The protagonist, ensnared by a captivating enigma, finds themselves entranced by a spectral melody emblematic of their irresistible allure. Amidst tribulations, the song’s enduring beauty ensnares their senses, likening their connection to a spectral presence that relentlessly shadows their every step. The verses eloquently evoke sentiments of yearning and submission to this enigmatic bond.
Listen to “Blush” below:
Born in Hong Kong and raised by American parents who were stationed at a camp for Vietnamese refugees in the city often referred to as the Pearl of the Orient, King’s journey led him to craft songs for Kai Tak during quarantine. This endeavor served as a means to connect with his unconventional heritage, and facilitate collaborations with numerous musical friends cultivated throughout his career as a producer and engineer. Operating without the constraints of deadlines allowed King to harness a plethora of techniques acquired over the years, including re-sampling, radical pitch manipulation, time-stretching, generous utilization of tape delay, recording live drums using MIDI drum triggers, and fashioning bespoke sample-based synthesizers from the sounds he had collected during his various trips to Hong Kong.
Kai Tak established a live ensemble in December of 2022, and within just over a year of performing together, the band had the privilege of opening for acclaimed acts like Blonde Redhead, Tamaryn, and Public Memory. Their trajectory includes plans for a tour in support of their inaugural LP, scheduled for release in June 2024 via à La Carte Records.
To celebrate the Lunar New Year, Kai Tak will be playing a show on the 10th of February in LA at Genghis Cohen.
Tickets can be purchased here.
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