“High End” is the latest musical installment from the People’s Higher Order of Royal Kinship, as facilitated by Los Angeles producer Neal Reinalda. With recent releases on Opal Tapes and Orange Milk, as well as two previous NNA full-length cassettes under his belt, we are pleased to offer PHORK’s debut vinyl record to the masses. On “High End”, Reinalda digs deeper still into the established PHORK sound world, procuring a modern conceptual take on the idea of “ambient music” as constructed with pieces of the dance music and musique concrete sonic palettes. The process unfolds in an almost visual manner where short blocks of sound are sculpted into assorted shapes and sizes, then stacked and arranged meticulously to create a skyline of rigid musical architecture. Whether they are electronically generated or captured in the field, the sounds are given the same treatment of deconstruction and reassembly to create new lenses of context. Scenic and situational field recordings are used to explicitly depict the world of the modern human, tapping into the nostalgic and almost mundane facets of daily life, extracting them from their associations, and allowing the listener find new meaning by examining them in a musical setting. Dripping water, a Fourth of July fireworks celebration, the motherly sound of a female voice, the shrill buzz of modern machinery… although these sounds are firmly grounded and not at all otherworldly, they are often coupled and blended in a subversive manner. In the stylistic tradition of the People’s Higher Order, these organic sounds are interlaced with a latticework of dry electronica, using traditional techno materials to establish a rhythmic and melodic foundation with an emphasis on inhuman flatness and non dynamics. Layers are built up and repeated, interacting with other layers as the resulting compounds are patiently added and subtracted, driving onward in a perpetual cycle of blooming and wilting. The resulting creation of a surreal narrative is something rare and unique in such a functional genre as dance music. Always the trickster, PHORK has tendency to embrace juxtaposition and luxuriate in the discomfort of hearing sounds play themselves out. “High End” succeeds in utilizing music to take on an anthropological voice, meditating on the routine and mediocrity of modern American society in an age of nihilism and discontent. The Royal Kinship often prides itself on generating more questions than answers.
“You are high-end. The most expensive of all products.” –N.R. Mastered and cut by Lupo at Calyx Mastering in Berlin, Germany.