Kyson soars to new heights from start-to-finish.
On his self-titled fourth record Kyson takes a reflective approach to his inner self, exploring the essence of youth, innocence and the freedom that comes with it. The Australia-born, Vienna based artist broke down each track from the album and spoke a bit about his influences with Earmilk, noting “For me, making music is the most child-like thing ever, You’re just free, running around a field naked, doing whatever you want. There are no borders to what you can do. It’s limitless.”
The previously released “Slowdown” and “After The Rain” made the cut for the album, whose twelve tracks come in just under 40 minutes, all of which hit that atmospheric and beckoning tone that we love to hear from Kyson.
Read Kyson’s track-by-track breakdown of the album, from Earmilk.com:
01 Last Moon.
This song was one of the last to get finished, even though I had written I think in 2017 on guitar, I ended up taking the really folky sounding acoustic guitar version and basically remixing it into what it is now. I think the soft synths and horn sections just felt like the right way to start the album. It’s a kind of positive self-assuring note to myself that I am actually healthy, sane, lucky and privileged and through positive thinking, I should remind myself of that more, a good message to kick off the album.
02 One and Other
Overall the album is a deep investigation into the meticulous intricacies of the Inner child and how this fragment of my personality is instrumental in influencing emotions, relationships, and creativity. Throughout the album, I’m kind of referencing portraits from my childhood however on “One and Other” I try to weave these moments together with my representation of being in love with another. When in a romantic relationship, I feel the inner child is perhaps in its most conscious and dynamic state. We fight, we shout, we bottle things up, we hide things but then, of course, there’s joy, endless curiosity and love all at the same time. We are at our most vulnerable. I’m just trying to talk about finding that balance of being yourself and being open to change.
Driveway is a really personal song to me, It describes and talks through a really haunting memory in my childhood in a super abstract way. The musical mood, however, gives a different impression, and I really love that mix of deep confusion or suffering in the lyrics backed by a contrasting sonic palette which I guess I find quite dreamy and subtle. It was so nice working with the band on fleshing this little acoustic guitar song out into what it is now. It could be my favorite song on the album.
It’s supposed to be a love song. My girlfriend is actually singing some of the background vocals and playing the flute at the end. She’s amazing and was a huge influence and driving force that helped me finish this album. Body and Mind are obviously so connected and when I was going through the process of writing this album, I really started to try and be more focused on mindfulness and through this realized the crazy fucking impact it has on me and also on my relationship and interactions with others. I learned a lot about how it can really play a part in happiness and creating the perfect foundation for a beautiful relationship. I use a synthesizer called a Juno 106 on almost everything I make, and I just kind of kept building on these really simple patterns I had from the synth until I felt a kind of meditative essence to it was there.
05 After The Rain
The thought for this song came to me, after watching the beautiful movie ‘Ame Agaru’. A screenplay Akira Kurosawa wrote just before he passed away. During the process of writing the album, I had a minor health scare which ended up with me having to take a course of medication that lasted 6 months. After the treatment which was luckily successful, what followed was a striking and beautiful moment of clarity and positivity. This was the last song that I finished for the album and I’m kind of looking down on myself and express that notion of being able to feel clear in your own body and mind again and feel the beautiful connection after a period of something seemingly dark, strange and unexpected.
06 The Boy
Creatively and lyrically “The Boy” is probably the most important song on the album. I had this loop of four chords on my computer for, like, a year. In an early demo, I just sang Am I still a boy? over and over, like a mantra. It took me nearly a year to complete the song, but that opened the floodgates to the rest of the album I think. From a sonic point of view, It is also a really important song as I think it captures what I was trying to go for in terms of a mix of real instrumentation and electronics.
07 Penang Stories
I have like hours and hours and hours of ambient music that I have recorded onto a little tascam portastudio 424. I always want to include snippets of these pieces into my albums as I feel they are such a big part of my songwriting process. I have some pretty vivid memories of family trips to Penang in Malaysia. Just a little moment in time.
08 Innocence Arrogance
It’s about bravado and regret. The song started as an audio sketch, where I went into my studio and started recording all my synths to tape. I spent hours doing that and then came up with this one little tone and started playing guitar over it. When you’re producing music even in your bedroom, it’s almost the deepest meditative state that I can be in. “My arrogance battles with my innocence / A surrogate to every thought / I watch it all come round again” I’m asking if we are arrogant to ignore the innocence of how fragile we are as humans. It’s about letting this innocent and soft side of myself into my life.
It’s out of place. It’s a very abstract story about love and about me and conversation with myself. The lyrics make peace with the idea that another person can relieve my unrest, helping me rethink my priorities. It is really interesting for me to break down my own album after I made it and think back on how I’m trying to relate the sounds to the story. I really wanted to have this piercing sound in the chorus that just kind of hits you in the face: like an extremely clear moment of realization does in life.
This song was a late addition to the record, I had been sitting on this really folky song for a while and then I actually got digging into a folder with some really cool sounds that my friend Chris Hill made and sent me years ago, this really like glitchy percussion loop that’s in the chorus. I got really inspired by this and quickly finished the song 2 days before it went to mastering. So that was that. Thanks, Chris. Love you.
Slowdown is a reminder to myself just to stop and take a breath, even though I like to think I’m calm, I’m actually a really hyperactive person (especially super early in the morning and late at night). I remember waking up and playing these chords at like 5 am in my studio, and just not stopping until I had finished the song. I couldn’t count the number of times my father said to me “Slowdown Jian” as a child, so that’s where the title is coming from”
I have this memory of my grandfather doing Taichi outside every day until he died at age 89, I always saw this as some kind of connection between the mind and nature or atmosphere. I like to create a conversation and relationships between moments in nature to feelings and emotions that we have as humans, in some ways I think they are deeply connected.