"This is a guitar record", she says. "This is the sound of a person playing guitar. Whatever additions we made, the fundamental of this record is still one person playing a guitar. That's who I am".
"Glow" marks a kind of artistic reboot for King, whose most recent recordings integrated traditional songcraft, additional musicians, and her own vocal stylings, all in pursuit of her tenaciously individualistic sonic vision. Though critically acclaimed, the release of 2010's band-oriented Junior was followed by a self-described "existential crisis". Thrown by the unplanned directions her life and music had taken, King was suddenly hesitant of the way forward. A worldwide solo tour proved just the ticket for clearing her head and restoring her perspective. Dubbed "The Traveling Freak Guitar Show Tour", the international trek - which saw King accompanied onstage only by a scope of esoteric stringed instruments - allowed the prodigious guitarist to reconnect with her symbiotic musical partner.
Having previously worked with such highly regarded producers as Malcolm Burn and John McEntire, this time she simply hoped to find a sympathetic mixer/engineer, someone who had "the ability to find and create magical sounds". Enter D. James Goodwin, producer, engineer, mixer, and owner of the residential Woodstock, NY studio, The Isokon. An early playback of Behold! This Dreamer by Thieving Irons, an album featuring Brantigan and engineered by Goodwin, convinced King that she had found her collaborator. Armed with a like-minded co-producer, a gifted string quartet, and a fistful of intriguing new songs, King headed to bucolic Woodstock in mid-May. The Isokon studio in Woodstock, NY, proved an ideal working environment and Goodwin, a genuinely simpatico collaborator. King set to work in as spontaneous and organic a fashion as possible, consciously placing few impediments on the creative flow. While her concentration was firmly aimed towards her guitar, King is also personally responsible for "Glow's" complete sonic scrum, including all percussion. Also present are such creative colorings as bagpipes, string arrangements, and the occasional bass part (played by Goodwin).
"Our attitude was, let's just start", King says. "Let's not discuss. Let's just pick up something and see where it takes us. And that took us places that were very unexpected."
Hailed by Rolling Stone as "a genre unto herself", Kaki King is a true iconoclast, a visionary musician/artist whose singular work rightly stands out amongst the easily formatted. Over her decade-long career thus far, the Brooklyn-based guitarist/composer has recorded five extraordinarily diverse and distinctive LPs, performed with such icons as Foo Fighters, Timbaland, and The Mountain Goats, contributed to a variety of film and TV soundtracks (spanning Golden Globe-nominated work on Sean Penn's Into The Wild to scoring - and appearing in as guitar-playing hand double - the acclaimed 2007 drama, August Rush), and played to ever-growing audiences on innumerable world tours. Each twist and veer marked the turning of a page, another step forward on a truly exceptional musical path. Beginning with 2002's Everybody Loves You - to date, her only fully acoustic guitar recording - King has expanded and reconceived the role of the solo instrumental artist, constantly kicking at the boundaries of what's expected.
Having spent the last decade restlessly adventuring, the afterglow of "Glow" finds Kaki King considerably more settled, though no less curious and artistically ambitious. Always a resolutely freethinking musician, a new and vast range of possibilities seems to have opened up for the ever-evolving, always unconventional King.