Kuri takes listeners on a journey of self-discovery and innate contemplation in just under thirty-five minutes.
The debut LP from Abbotsford, British Columbia native Scott Currie (going by the stage name Kuri for over two years) could be the biggest treasure found scattered amongst the many anticipated Canadian releases this summer. No Village sparkles and gleams with alternative-folk elements and a cornucopia of instruments. Described as ‘avant-folk’ by the music label Nevado, it’s an appropriate term to describe some of the existential elements Kuri dabbles with on this ten-track thing of beauty.
Formerly of the group Oh Village, the aptly named No Village explores Kuri’s rapid growth in experimental-folk music only months after the release of his first EP, Human Nature. Blink and you’ll miss something. Don’t play it casually in the background at a social gathering if you want to hook your guests to Kuri’s vibe; let them delve into it in a tranquil environment with a solid set of speakers. You can ponder life together with a glass of wine. Or scotch.
In just under thirty-five minutes, Kuri takes listeners on a journey of self-discovery and innate contemplation. Lead single “Sort Sol” discusses the phenomenon of observing something extremely meaningful for the first time in a way that makes you believe others have never shared in this marvel. How can we liberate this knowledge that we have come to possess? Kuri’s constant yearning for truth and understanding is a byproduct of his Mennonite background. Just as his impactful lyrics begin to envelop you, Kuri hits you with an odd time signature via a polyrhythmic tom pattern before launching into a halftime breakdown in the chorus: “if everyone else feels the same thing, then why don’t we call it divine?”. Beautiful movements!
Each track’s ebb and flow makes it relatively easy to pinpoint which song is which. Each composition’s individual instrumentation, tone, and melody is like a unique language being placed on a path to self-discovery. The opening, self-titled track is a minute-long ominous string arrangement that could easily provide the intro music to a Canadian Prairie drama set in the 1900s. It segues beautifully into my personal favourite tune, “The Great Orator”, which gallops and prances with legato strings and rapid percussive tempos. From then on, each composition gleams with substance and existential questions. Passages and arrangements echo the likes of Sigur Ros, Andy Shauf, and Patrick Watson, yet still entirely unique in and of itself. Each song has its own defining feature in both instrumentation and in Kuri’s voice, the latter most dazzling in the song “Something at the Door”.
Ultimately, No Village takes you on a journey: one of reflection, acceptance. A journey of aspiration. Claiming to be “an observer”, Kuri’s gift to listeners is to model how best to be one, as he does on “Sort Sol”: yearning to liberate the knowledge of a great discovery.