If you happen to belong to that segment of society that works around the clock, either out of a feeling of necessity or as a symptom of passion, or if your weary ears can sympathize with theirs’, then you will likely enjoy the jazzy electronic stylings of French Kiwi Juice. I have been meaning to write this review for quite some time now, but every time I cued up the producer’s latest sort of self-titled album, FKJ, the cosmic wallpaper of stars and bills and stacks of books and Microsoft Word and WordPress disintegrated before my ears, and in its place, all there was was sound: A beat.
Not just any run-of-the-mill cymbal shepherd beat, but one set at just the tempo to render the listener partially plegic under the forces of FKJ. The album is packed with complex melodic oscillations, such as those in “Die With a Smile,” that hit that sweet spot – you know it when you hear it. It is the combination of rhythm and melody that is as smooth and ministerial as speeding down a twisted, elevated exit ramp while driving a Mercedes 560 SEL.
French Kiwi Juice brings the lyrical and melodic complexity. He brings it in a nourishing way, with vocals slow enough for passive listening but engaging enough to have on when you’re in the mood for more stimulating activities.
Perhaps my negligence in writing the review I had initially intended of FKJ is due to my own prodigious sloth (I have heard that some sloths cultivate algae in their hair, a feat made possible by the 0.07 MPH speed limit imposed on their extremities by an economical motor cortex). And perhaps a 1200-word review with a blow-by-blow of each of the twelve songs on the album would reveal something profound about art, music, and Actinidia berries. But without such purposeful observation of FKJ, of the vocal delicacies in “Vibin’ Out with (((O)))” and the casual and understated R&B guitar mastery in “Why Are There Boundaries,” whenever the album was on, all urgency left the scene.
Listening to FKJ on repeat (which has meant having “Skyline” running laps around my head every time I pedal in the direction of Uptown, jump for that juggy dyno, and put fresh, optimistic ideas into pixelated language) has reminded me that one tends to miss things when purposefully observing the world. Hisakata Hiroyuki went viral last week for taking photographs of cats practicing ninja-like behavior. He gets it. French Kiwi Juice gets it. Listen – not too hard, mind you – to FKJ, and you’ll get it, too.