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Over 10 years worth of field recordings and 4 years in the making, Mr Kit has built a sonic landscape rich in evocative sounds and music. From jazz fusion flavours and new age synth explorations, to Yoruban bata drums and swarsangum solos, the album doesn’t shy away from surprising its audience throughout the gorgeously detailed 55-minute journey.
The elation of a family reunion in America. A pounding throng of a dense South East Asian market. Slow waves kissing sandaled feet as they steep in damp sand. These are but a few of the moving memories found on this record. They are moments stretched out into infinity, suspended in curiosity. They are places to dream to, to laugh with, to soften with and to live with in moments of need.
They are Temporary Utopias.
From the jazz fusion eruptions of ‘Bisparkular’, the synthesised South East Asian scales in ‘Tualinpintiontuationture,’ the laid back instrumental hip-hop improvisations of ‘Boat Life’, to the new age ecstatic drones of ‘Mango Rock’, the album is bursting with love for many musical styles. Mr Kit highlights lesser known instruments throughout the record especially in ‘A Prelude to Mutiny’ where a wall of Yoruban bata drums and staccato Indian swarsangum exuberantly dance through a dense jungle. Through the many worlds explored come the many styles expressed, all with a love and respect that permeates from his deeply mixed racial heritage.
Temporary Utopias is best heard in full, without distraction. So cosy up with your favourite headphones and turn up your stereo to get lost in a world of beautiful surprises.
D E E P D I V E
During the early months of a honeymoon to Viet Nam, that ended up lasting a year, Mr Kit conceived the concept for this album whilst volunteering at a soon-to-open hostel and coffee house. He never intended, nor had any idea, that it would take another 4 years to complete. Using 10 years worth of collected field recordings, multiple recording sessions in different countries, rare and unusual instruments from around the world and track titles bestowed by children, he built a world of moving memories to live in.
The album opens with the ecstatic synth palpitations of ‘Tip Likes the Sky’ where we begin on the porch of a house with a dog. After a party welcomes us we fly through dense markets at great speed, backed by blaring trumpets and saxophone, high energy drums and arpeggio bass that push, roll and blast us through the polarity of ‘Bisparkular’. As the opening burst of the album slows we find ourselves in calmer territory with ‘Tualinpintiontuationture’ as a thunderous storm is observed from a quiet veranda. Here synthesised melodies drop like rain. As the rain subsides a distant train’s horn bellows with the wind signaling the beginning of ‘Boat Life’. Deep clouds of chords fill our ears whilst players release the looming industrious tension with delicate licks on guitar, saxophone and trumpet, backed by an entrancing drum beat and an electric bass-line.
A small child shushes those around him in preparation for an impending choral performance. ‘Daji’ takes us into unsettled realms and tense drones, looking for a moment of religious ecstatic release from a world of turbulence. As we glimpse that release, a man repents and repeats a mantra. We find ourselves in a street of dogs until an electric door opens and we are released into the rolling bass-line and synths of ‘The Magic Hand’, here we begin a journey of respite.
As a boat takes us away from the city, a jungle is heard in the distance. As it gets closer the night has ended and the dawn is taking over. The dense jungle gives way to the lifting sun whose light moves like smoke through the trees. ‘Mango Rock’ wakes us up with a myriad of squawking, rustling and animal playing. Bright tones that lick like strands of sunlight move us into full blown daylight as it moves through the trees. Refreshed and awakened, the ecstasy of a new day continues its joyous journey with ‘A Prelude to Mutiny’, with bata drums, swarsangum staccatos and bouncing bass-lines; it's a celebration of life and energy. Continuing on our jungle journey, a distant party calls our attention and we head towards a cacophony of shouting and wailing with ‘Monkey See Monkey Do’. Bata drums throb from underneath and around us, as a group of musicians move through the party joining in the commotion with playful musicality. As the party subsides through the day and into the night we walk to a beach where a night time lullaby awaits us. Here, gently rolling waves, soft voices and distant singing take us into the night with ease as the next temporary utopia awaits.
released November 19, 2023
All tracks recorded, produced and mixed by Mr Kit.
Except the drums on ‘Bisparkular’ which were recorded at Eighth Note Studios, Ha Noi, Viet Nam, 2018.
Saxophone on ‘Bisparkular’ & ‘Boat Life’ by Benji Forster.
Guitar on ‘Boat Life’ by Jethro Cooke
Bata Drums on ‘A Prelude to Mutiny’ & ‘Monkey See Monkey Do’ by Dan Johnson
Choral performance on ‘Daji’ by LCC class of 2013.
Hymn recitation on ‘Daji’ recorded in Ha Noi cathedral 2018.
All other instruments played by Mr Kit.
Other instruments featured on the album: swarsangum, trumpet, ocarinas, hulusi, drums, piano, keys, percussion, vocals.
To all the children that helped name the pieces on this album.
To Antoine Assayas for the use of his equipment in our studio in Au Co for ‘Tip Likes the Sky’ and ‘Daji’.
To my trumpet teachers Dalkyun Im and Rich Coloquon, for helping me hone my ambitions and commitment to the instrument and for introducing me to the TCE method. I never thought I’d be able to play on my own record within three years of beginning the trumpet.
To Nguyễn Hoàng Long for the spectacular artwork. I was so happy to meet you during the album's conception and so moved to be able to have you create this work 5 years later. I adore it and you.
To Shawn Joseph at Optimum, your work has brought the sound world together and really finished off the album. Thank you.
To Benji Forster for bringing your commitment and openness to our recording sessions together. The album shines brighter thanks to your playing.
To Jethro Cooke for his ever priceless pieces of mix and composition advice whenever I’d ask. And for being one of the best and dearest friends I could ever wish for.
To Dan Johnson for being a constant source of musical inspiration and challenge. I listen to life differently and am better because of you.
And to my beautiful Cloud, who has spent the last 6 years journeying with me in an exceptional marriage and who was the other observer to most of these beautiful places, I love you. This would not have been possible without you.
This album features field recordings personally collected from…
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, USA
Encinitas, California, USA
Da Lat, Viet Nam
Ho Minh City, Viet Nam
Los Angeles, California, USA
Ha Noi, Viet Nam
Mai Chau, Viet Nam
Phan Rang, Viet Nam
Surbiton, Surrey, UK