Acoustic singer songerwriter guy. Bloke with guitar. He walks into a bar and sets up his stool before strumming gently and bubbling away about something mildly inconsequential… At least, that's what he does 999 times out of 1000. But someone's always got to be different. Maybe he doesn't want to be armed just with a guitar, especially when we are engulfed in a wave of male singer songwriters who are so devoid of rough edges (i.e. interest) that they are making us pine for the days of such uber–fascinating characters as David Gray.*
That person, on this occasion, is Khonnor. An eccentric from Vermont, Khonnor has taken the gently strummer singer songwriter pattern and dipped it in the pot marked 'Electronic Things Which Go Whoosh!'. It's not a very subtle pot. It drenches his work in all sorts of sweeps and unexpected sounds. It also adds a somewhat unsettling ambience to proceedings. It's quite alright to find yourself looking around the room wondering where that noise came from before you realise it was very probably meant to be on the track you're listening to. Probably. Best check just to be certain.
Like a sci–fi version of film score legend Ennio Morricone, Khonnor creates things which are less songs than soundtracks which seep out of the speakers and envelope the room, colluding with the furniture, the lighting and your own feelings to shift you somewhere unworldly. His songs are curious, sometimes it's hard to recall what they sound like, yet the second the first sound (sometimes a note or chord, sometimes just that, a sound) hits you you will remember the song.
The songs below are two good examples of what to find on his album Handwriting (buy it y'hear ) which is the best place to start. He apparently has new stuff coming out as Khonnor later in the year but for those who find this to be not quite enough there is also his alter egos…
Khonnor – 'An Ape Is Loose' MP3 Expired
Khonnor – 'Man From The Anthill' MP3 Expired
Grandma is a more electronic sound than Khonnor, distorted vocals and even (shock) a scattering of beats which you could conceivably dance to (though don't expect a hi–NRG workout to burn those calories off). Downloads of Grandma's EP 'For Your Broken Heart' can be found at Monotonik's website.
More electronic still is his releases as I, Cactus. These are less unnerving than his other pieces, more chilled and relaxed. Each track is a new cactus based experience.
It might not be what you're used to hearing but isn't it worth giving your eardrums something a little different from time to time? If this concept does not appeal then piss off to Radio 2 where I'm sure some bloke with a guitar is waiting to serenade you with bilge about something–or–other breaking his heart. Bet he doesn't use the pot marked 'Electronic Things Which Go Whoosh!'.
*Who is quite good if you can get past the ubiquity of certain tracks of his.