|Nicholas Krgovich — On Cahuenga (January 27, 2015)|
Nicholas Krgovich — On Cahuenga (January 27, 2015) ♠■★ Nicholas Krgovich is a songwriter and multi–instrumentalist best known for his work with NO KIDS, GIGI and P:ANO. He has been releasing records since 2002.
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Album release: January 27, 2015
Record Label: Tin Angel Records/NK World Service
01. The Backlot 3:16
02. Along the PCH on Oscar Night 4:03
03. Cosmic Vision 3:56
04. Let’s Take the Car Out 4:09
05. City of Night 3:21
06. Rock’s Dream 3:53
07. You’re Through 4:22
08. The Mansion 3:20
09. At Pershing Sq. 3:54
10. Moon’s Soft Glow 4:51
11. Along the PCH on Oscar Night 4:24
Notes: Orindal Records is distributed exclusively by The Business in Anacortes, WA.
■★♠ On Cahuenga is a companion album to another Nicholas Krgovich album, On Sunset (out now on Tin Angel Records/NK World Service). The two albums have nearly identical track listings, but the performances & arrangements on each album are completely unique.
★■♠ On On Cahuenga, Vancouver, BC singer/songwriter/visionary/recluse Nicholas Krgovich (No Kids, P:ano, Gigi) performs solo electric piano & vocal renditions of lovelorn, Hollywood–obsessed torch songs from his solo debut, On Sunset. Eschewing big budget orchestration & programmed electro rhythms for a more direct, bare–bones aesthetic, On Cahuenga plays like a series of strange screen tests for the widescreen panorama of On Sunset. Recorded live to tape by Phil Elverum (The Microphones, Mount Eerie) in a single April afternoon, Krgovich’s exceptional musicianship & subtle songcraft are in crisp focus throughout these ten tracks.
■★♠ On Cahuenga is a warm, intimate, & beautiful recording from one of my all–time favorite singer/songwriters. I practically begged Nicholas to make this album, & I’m so proud to be releasing it on Orindal Records. — Owen Ashworth
♠■★ When he plays the keyboard, I hear the sound of unseen drums. If he plays the drums, do I hear the keyboard? — Tori Kudo of Maher Shalal Hash Baz
BY DAN CAFFREY ON MARCH 05, 2015, 6:00AM / SCORE: B
■★♠ Nicholas Krgovich isn’t the first musician to record a stripped–down version of an already released album, but he might be the artist who’s benefitted from it the most. That’s not to say last year’s On Sunset was a bad record by any means. Rife with golden age horns, cocktail congas, and multilayered vocal tracks, composer Stefan Udell’s arrangements evoked the orange–dusted hills of Los Angeles in the most cinematic way possible. But they also buried the small–hour loneliness of Krgovich’s lyrics.
★■♠ On Cahuega, however, pushes this isolation to the forefront by doing away with everything except a Rhodes electric piano and Krgovich’s own voice, which fluctuates between half–timid R&B and half–wild crooning depending on the song. On “Cosmic Vision”, for example, he pushes himself into head–voice territory as he realizes a relationship will never evolve past casual sex. Things get more ominous on “The Mansion”, where — taking on the persona of an aging star — he remembers the wild nights of old Hollywood, the piano recalling any number of ‘70s soap operas as its high notes hang in the air to die.
■★♠ And that’s one of On Cahuenga’s greatest tricks: Krgovich no longer gets in on the party. Whereas most great albums about LA nightlife see the narrator indulging in hedonism (even if they’re critiquing it), he manages to stay on the outskirts of pretty much every depressing event. When he attends another frozen–in–time mansion celebration on opener “The Backlot”, he can’t wait to drive off to a park where you can see a movie studio bordering a cemetery.
♠■★ All this talk of dead–in–the–water romance and Hollywood decay is decidedly mopey. But there’s a big difference between mopery and melodrama, the latter of which Krgovich never spirals into since his stories largely frame him as an observer, not a participant. It also helps that the entire album was recorded live to tape, allowing a fog of intimate sounds to breathe through the speakers. The creak of Krgovich shifting on his piano bench, the rap of the keys pressing softly on the instrument’s rim, the rustle of sheet–music turning — they all create a sonic warmth that keeps any sad bastard-isms at bay. If there were more instruments on On Cahuenga, you might even call it coke rock. Only without the coke.
★■♠ Essential tracks: “The Backlot”, “Cosmic Vision”, “The Mansion”
■★♠ Nicholas Krgovich is a songwriter and multi–instrumentalist best known for his work with No Kids, Gigi and P:ano. He has been releasing records under various monikers since P:ano’s acclaimed chamber pop debut, WHEN IT’S DARK AND IT’S SUMMER (2002). This led to his recordings with the girl group inspired Gigi, the icy displacement of the R&B informed No Kids, and most recently the singular pop dreams released under his own name. Even though the material is often wildly diverse, there is an unmistakable sense of Krgovich’s deep commitment to exploring the endless possibilities of pop, his discerning ear for sonic detail, and an ambition that willfully borders on the absurd.
★■♠ With songs that owe as much to the Great American Songbook as to perennial favorites like Sade, Prefab Sprout and The Blue Nile, Krgovich has been creating a rich musical universe comprised of intricate vocal melodies, lush orchestral arrangements, layers of analog synths, slinky guitars and tight rhythms of the human (and inhuman) variety.
♠■★ He has toured extensively throughout North America, Europe and Asia with his various projects, and has collaborated with artists such as Mount Eerie, Deradoorian, Nite Jewel and Amber Coffman of Dirty Projectors. In between recording and touring he has participated in a residency at the Banff Centre for the Arts, written a one–act musical for Vancouver’s Push Festival, contributed songs to myriad film and television productions, and taken his dog, Sally, on countless walks around the neighbourhood.
★♠■ He is currently readying his latest solo record entitled THE HILLS for a winter 2016 release.
|Nicholas Krgovich — On Cahuenga (January 27, 2015)|