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K is for Kranky
By Michael Kaufmann
Saturday, June 5th, 2010
I used to spend time in the music library at KAOS Radio at Evergreen University in Olympia Washington. My roommate had a show entitled Sad Songs and Waltzes, yes named after the song by Cake, and yes, Cake is completely awesome. I would spend all my time during his 3 hour show pulling CDs from the experimental section at KAOS. I would sit at their CD player in the library with a pair of headphones and just close my eyes and diligently listen. It was through this process that I discovered all sorts of lovely and difficult music. But there was something always very palette cleansing about the Kranky releases. Not that their releases weren’t equally challenging at times, but challenging me to breathe slower and listen deeply. There is a continuity in the catalog of Kranky that is expertly illustrated in the playlist they provided us for this feature. The music is diverse, yet it fits and flows together like a delicately curated mixtape.

I decided to look Kranky up on Wikipedia. Instead of me giving you some sort of mixed-metaphor hyperbole about the label, I felt that the directness and sincerity of the Wikipedia description was very appropriate for the music on the label. Wikipedia has this to say:

“Kranky is an independent record label, located in Chicago, Illinois. It was started in 1993 by Bruce Adams and Joel Leoschke. The bands it houses are noted for combining experimental and often electronic influences with elementsof more traditional rock structures, and many of the artists on Kranky are inspired by or revolve around ambient music.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself. Thanks crowdsourcing. So stop, breathe more slowly and listen more deeply.


1. Disappears “Gone Completely” from LUX

2. Stars Of The Lid “Requiem for Dying Mothers, Part 2” from The Tired Sounds of Stars of the Lid

3. Ken Camden “Raagini Robot” from Lethargy & Repurcussion

4. Tim Hecker “Sea of Pulses” from An Imaginary Country

5. Deerhunter “Like New” from Fluorescent Grey EP

6. Jonas Reinhardt “Near A Mirrored Pit Viper” from Powers Of Audition

7. Loscil “Lake Orchard” from Endless Falls

8. Benoit Pioulard “Idyll” from Temper

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