The fertile, cross-pollinating imagination of Kit Sebastian permeates a heady, joyous and oddball debut album that conjures summery sonic flotsam by drawing upon three languages and an array of outre styles.
We’re living in unnerving times dominated by base demagoguery and voices of exclusion, intolerance and insularity, which is why Kit Sebastian’s perfectly formed debut album arrives as an affirmation, a pick-me-up tonic, a free-thinking and inclusive corrective to the bigoted bluster around us.
Ploughing a wide furrow, Kit Sebastian make an exuberant junkshop music that’s welcoming, open and wistful; their forensically curated pop is a strange, ineffably joyful cross-stitching of global ideas, flavours and influences which combines pop nous, a poetic melancholy and a Super-8 sheen. Every groove rings with sadness, sophistication and style.
On Mantra Moderne, Kit Martin (music) and Merve Erdem (lyrics) have sculpted a warm, organic and invigorating record packed with swaths of sonic detail, drawing upon English, Turkish and French languages and synthesising myriad styles; a bewitching analogue vacation for the frayed and weary soul. Over the course of its nine tracks, Mantra Moderne exudes a lilting grace as its themes of nostalgia, love, loss, impermanence and faded memories strike a sweet spot between experimental sprawl and gossamer folk-soul.
Echoes of Finders Keepers-style hipster influence seep in at the edges, from the velvety flecks of David Axelrod, Serge Gainsbourg and Nancy and Lee on the lush, romantic opening, Senden Baska, to the heavy-lidded phantasmagoria of Broadcast and Stereolab on the ethereal Kuytu.
Splashes of sun-kissed Tropicalia animate the gorgeous Yanimda Kal, and the recent single, Tyranny 20 swaggers with the insouciance of Brigitte Bardot whilst harnessing the opiated death drone of The Velvet Underground and Nico. The infectious keyboard chimes and slinky drums on the serene With A Sense of Grace are tailor-made for hip-hop crate-digger consumption, whilst the psychedelic-tinged Durma blasts like a sci-fi jazz score. A jabber of punchy brass, creepy organ, breathy vocals and effects, it’s akin to hearing Silver Apples and The Art Ensemble of Chicago hook up with The Heliocentrics and Jane Birkin.
There’s a twitchy, elastic restlessness weaving its way across this gauzy web of sunlit sound, from sweaty-palmed intensity to meditative reveries and rumbling funk. Kit Sebastian’s first missive is awash with tremendously beautiful music, a bittersweet balm offering reassurances of community, diversity and unity. This is pop’s past mingling with its future to create a boldly assured mutant, delivered with a purr rather than a growl and swirling with energy and curiosity.