This week we delve into Kal.Kal & Alcoda’s, ‘The Authoritative Kal.Kal & Alcoda'
Kal.Kal has had a musical career filled with fun. Coming from the same locale as Couchloaf Records he attributes alot of of his love for the Beat scene to the artists he has made friends along the way. Working with Lazy Tree Records and crafting his own original sound, Kal.Kal proudly proclaims ‘I don't think I'd want to be a part of any other scene, or making any other type of art than I'm am now.’ Alcoda has had a similarly positive experience with music. After playing lead guitar and vocals for an metalcore band, he was introduced to FL studio and started experimenting with making ambient and EDM songs. Over the years, he has experimented with different sounds and genres. With a similar enthusiasm as Kal.Kal, Alcoda explained ‘It’s been fun and has let me be as free as I want to as an independent artist.’ ‘The Authoritative Kal.Kal & Alcoda’ is the duo’s first project together but how did the pair translate the joy of creation into a tangible body of work?
‘The Authoritative Kal.Kal & Alcoda’ is a very unique project conceptually. When we spoke to Kal.Kal he explained ‘‘The Authoritative Kal.Kal and Alcoda’ is a Calvin and Hobbes themed album. The name comes from the first Calvin and Hobbes collection book I got as a kid. I had my friend De'Angelo recreate the book artwork but with our twist on it as well. All the songs are named after collection books, and we tried to keep a sense of childlike wonder in all the production.’
Taking inspiration from Bill Watterson’s iconic comic strip, the duo have crafted a work that celebrates childhood and curiosity. The album feels like the discoveries you made as a kid. Tentative and cautious initially, ‘The Authoritative Kal.Kal & Alcoda’ gradually opens up and relishes the joy in exploring new places and feelings. The pacing of the project is incredible in this regard as the sounds and themes roll out to a gentle, natural pulse.
Even the track names themselves are named after Calvin & Hobbes strips and embody the self realism, but also fantasy, inherent in the comics. As intangible as it is interesting ‘The Authoritative Kal.Kal & Alocda’ takes great joy in the simplicity of life and, as Alcoda explained, ‘We are both huge fans of nostalgia and this project let us indulge in creating a soundscape for simpler times of our lives.’ ‘The Authoritative Kal.Kal & Alocda’ celebrates the multiple tiny milestones of growing up. Giving each feeling at the heart of nostalgia room to explore and blossom.
Overall the concept is very natural but this is helped in no small measure by the organic sounds at play. Each track has raw tonality that’s indicative of childhood discovery. The sounds are natural and unmarred by heavy synthetics, with Alcoda’s amazing guitar playing leading almost all the beats on ‘The Authoritative Kal.Kal & Alocda’. Kal.Kal spoke on Alcoda’s skills here:
The guitar playing may be the lynchpin but its the interlacing of the pair’s individual sounds that make this album so special. Take a track like ‘Yukon Ho’. A beautiful guitar lead jam with skittish drums, the beat meanders lazily but the interplay between the drums slop and the guitar’s bounce is imbued with a raw energy that could only be collaborative. The pairing is seamless, a fact Kal.Kal expressed when he spoke to him:
‘Collaborating on this project was one of the best decisions I've ever made. Alcoda is incredibly talented, and it has been my most well received album so far. But it goes beyond just making the album. Our shows together have been the best I've ever played. For every show, we try to find ways to improve our set. We usually play the entire album during the second half and it's well received every time. Alcoda is a beast on stage, and playing these shows with him have been way more fun than just making the album. We may be two artists, but we work as if we were one when we're collaborating.’
Alcoda supported this sentiment saying:
‘Evan was upfront with me and would tell me when he didn't like something or if something could be better and that really pushed me to try harder to make the best possible thing I could.’
The mixdown is not to be ignored here either. By infusing echos, phasing and some subtle stereo manipulation; the duo create interest and depth without sacrificing the sonic integrity of the album. Generally the album sounds ‘real’. It sounds like two musicians working through some ideas and keeping it fresh. No overt effects, no flashy trickery. Just ideas and a desire for expression. Kal.Kal spoke on the organic nature of the album:
‘Alcoda's guitar skills are really the cause of that. The melodies he was able to come up with to match the titles were chillingly accurate. He has this really nice skill of playing exactly what needs to be played despite having no direction to go off of besides song titles. All I did was take those, and turn them into a tangible organised beat (or sometimes, like with ‘Something Under the Bed is Drooling’, there was no beat at all!). The concept may have been mine, but he makes this album just as much, and sometimes even more, than I do.’
‘When recording acoustic guitar, I would run a mic to my dining room, where the ceramic floors would bring out a natural ambience. For electric guitar and any keys I provided, I used tons of reverb and different kinds of delay and also a sound widened plugin to feel enveloping.’
Even the drums sound real which on ‘ The Authoritative Kal.Kal and Alcoda’. The drum hits aren’t over processed or mechanical, rather, they sound almost melodic in their rawness. Beats like ‘The Revenge of the Baby Sat’. The drums here are at their most ‘real’. Backing up a sublime, euphoric melody of interlaced guitar and vocal; the drums sit nicely under the swell and feel like a kit all the duo’s own. The uniqueness of the pair is represented here and the appropriately raw rhythm section firs beautifully in the wider mosaic.
‘The Authoritative Kal.Kal & Alcoda’ is a wonderful celebration of childhood wonderment. With the quintessentially fun and curious concept, the pair have managed to sonically express the joy of discovery. The sounds are organic and reflect the immediacy that comes with childhood, without sacrificing high quality tonality. The collaboration between the two producers is seamless and that relationship is the foundation for the raw, fun organic soundscape that permeates the album. ‘The Authoritative Kal.Kal & Alcoda’ is pure escapism. This is one for when you want to relive the endless summers and constant discovery of childhood. However the album is defiantly not childish. It is simply a reminder to never let go of the creativity, curiosity and wonder that makes new experiences mean so much. No matter what age you may be.
Listen to ‘The Authoritative Kal.Kal & Alcoda’ here:
Discover More Categories