apple sauce 

Rok Lok Records • 2022

apple sauce, from Alberta-based band kkidss, is a fitting cassette soundtrack for a summer road trip you once had a hazy dream about.

There is a certain warmth to analog music recordings that can be lost in our digital streaming age. Every unwanted hiss and click can be removed; every wave of white noise can be silenced. Alberta-based shoegaze artist kkidss takes a markedly different approach with apple sauce, their fourth project to date. The symphony of the cassette recorder is itself an instrument; every word and note is accompanied by a subtle gust of static, a warped artifact of time. Though not the most concise or tight album, apple sauce is varied enough to warrant its 18-track runtime — each song containing a moment of charm and serenity that the recording medium enhances.

In the opening seconds of every track, a mysterious voice announces the title: “pretty song”, “apple sauce”, “stay”, and on and on. There is a hypnotic element to this pattern. Title; two minutes of fuzzy shoegaze; fade out. Title; two minutes of fuzzy shoegaze; fade out. Before you know it, forty-five minutes have passed, and the album is over. 

This is not to say that every song on apple sauce is equally strong. The Nottingham-esque whistles featured on “I’ll be a bum” don’t do enough to spice up the track, while the vocals on “spring break (falling in love is insane)” often struggle to be heard over the instruments. Yet these moments are overshadowed by the variety of “apple sauce,” the lull of “red star,” and the haunting melodies of “call me”. For a lo-fi shoegaze project, kkidss manages to use a wide acoustic palette to create the perfect cassette to play on a sunny summer road trip. The Appalachian folk sounds of “the train the river and the road” are a particular highlight, accompanied by the groovy closing track, “whatever.” I can’t put my finger on it, but there is a certain hypnotic quality to apple sauce. As soon as it was over, I longed to hear the mechanical whirring of the cassette rewinding, just to listen to it one more time.

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