Based in Frederick, Maryland, multi-instrumentalist Kai Orion has made a name for himself through his inventive brand of songwriting. And we mean inventive, with his 2015 debut Pots & Pans utilising everyday sounds and objects to form its instrumentation—the entire record crafted out of household items, field recordings, found objects and sounds. This distinctive style was further honed in a cover competition run by The National, Orion’s take on ‘I Need My Girl’ using nothing but kitchen implements taking first place.
Kai Orion is back with start to end, a brand new album that is to be released early this spring. The record is Orion’s attempt to marry his experimental style with a more accessible sound, traditional instruments used in support of the more unorthodox sources, all tied together by lyrics based around relationships and beginnings and endings more generally.
We’re thrilled to be able to share the lead single, ‘Heartless’, a song indicative of the album as a whole. Here the emphasis is on changes and fluidity, the music imbued with a sense of dynamism despite its minimal aesthetic, subject to change at any moment. Plus, while employing a range of idiosyncratic instruments and sources (wine glasses, rhythmic flute, found sounds), the track cements Orion as an artist to be taken seriously beyond the novelty of his playful methods.
Through a composed yet persistent rhythm, the instrumentation serves as the perfect backing for the vocal delivery, providing an upbeat and even backdrop across which Kai Orion can display his vocal range. From the evocative murmurs of the opening lines to the fiercely heartfelt cries that mark the song’s crescendo, Orion is a songwriter placing sincerity at the forefront of his work, and it is the emotional connection, not the innovative and quirky style, that becomes the primary focus.