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Head Like A Kite | Random Portraits Of The Home Movie (Pattern 25)

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The diverse repertoire of contributors reflects the eclectic nature of the album itself, as the tracks distill trip-hop into ambient sounds, electronica into rock, and industrial noise into everyday sound loops.

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For listeners seeking a novel idea in album form, look no further than Head Like a Kite’s Random Portraits of the Home Movie, a dreamlike collection of blips and whirs that comprises a soundtrack for both life at present, and life as we remember it. Having excavated his family’s home movies on Super 8 film, Sushirobo guitarist Dave Einmo has created an anthology of soundscapes to accompany the reels of his childhood, and the result is a stirring compilation of sometimes eerie, oftentimes whimsical tracks that pulse to the very beat of our existence.

To accomplish such an epic task, Einmo enlists the aid of many familiar musical guests, including members of Smoosh, the Posies, Crooked Fingers, Preston School of Industry, and of course, Sushirobo. The diverse repertoire of contributors reflects the eclectic nature of the album itself, as the tracks distill trip-hop into ambient sounds, electronica into rock, and industrial noise into everyday sound loops. Even the hum of a flickering film reel weaves its way throughout, reminding us that we are listening to a soundtrack of sorts, meant to underscore the steady hum of life as it appears on home video. The track lengths drive this notion home, as each song spans no longer than two to three minutes—just the amount of time that a standard Super 8 reel runs.

Most of the tracks are instrumental numbers, packing in a candy store of aural treats that dazzle and fizz like Pop Rocks for the ears. These are splendid and wholly enthralling, but if the listener is more in the mood for a mix tape–friendly song, the tracks that feature guest singers are the most coherent. Einmo’s collaboration with Smoosh’s Asya on “Noisy at the Circus” is the standout among those that sound more like radio singles, with Asya’s breathy vocals floating over a catchy pop hook.

However, it is the last, purely instrumental track that is most memorable, leaving the listener with an enduring impression as the album slowly fades out. It is here that Einmo truly drives home his ode to life past and present, bridging the gap between personal experience and universal understanding. Entitled “Scenes From the World Trade Center 1979,” the final track is a requiem for the loss of what once was, an ambient elegy of solemn beauty that addresses both Einmo’s past and that of a nation. It is in this way, on this last track and throughout, that Random Portraits of the Home Movie maintains its brilliance. In digging up the cobwebbed film reels of his past from the dusty recesses of his parents’ basement, Einmo speaks to a history that is not only familial, but one that is heartbreakingly universal.
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