On Modern Yesterdays, Kaki King doubles down on her skill as a musician. Known for her impressive guitar-playing, Kaki’s latest is a testament to her constantly expanding exploration of composition and texture. Bursting with color from the very first track, Modern Yesterdays is engaging from beginning to end, each song a carefully carved work of art.
Kicking off with “Default Shell,” Kaki’s guitar dances with the artist’s intricate movement. The song is tight and bristled–a bold introduction. Followed by “Can’t Touch This or That or You or My Face,” the tension built by “Default Shell” is dispersed by looser guitar and calm ambiance. Soon, the song becomes abstracted as the ambiance grows into a blurry bed of noise, Kaki’s metallic guitar shifting above it. The change in style is the first of many phases within Modern Yesterdays. Moving from tense guitar playing to more relaxed plucking, the album then transitions to an even more abstracted style on “Rythmic Tiny Sand Ball Patterns.” Sparkling guitar is buried under watery production, like sunlight streaming below the ocean’s surface. Kaki King has choreographed a ballet of sound, one that is both calming and exciting.
Though undoubtedly successful on most tracks, Kaki’s latest isn’t entirely perfect. On “Sei sei,” the second to last song, the artist struggles to design a piece quite as interesting as its companions. Still, the song is a solid instrumental work. Ultimately, Modern Yesterday’s weaker entries are only skippable when in comparison to its stronger ones. And with most of the album being formed by these stronger tracks, Modern Yesterdays is a lovely experience.