Paul Kendall – Family Value Pack


[Reviewed by Peter Marks]

From nowhere he eases back into the frame. He’s not one to give any sort of notice, which makes what he’s done here a pleasant surprise. As he’s done this album on Ant-Zen, perhaps more will discover PK as an artist in his own right; you certainly could just fall back on his track record in the studio with others for reference but what fun is that? Paul Kendall’s a guy who doesn’t really do interviews and is more than happy to just remain in the background while others take the bow but as it’s only been three years since his solo debut (a mind-warping collection, to put it mildly) it seems he’s feeling a bit more sociable. We’re going to take full advantage of this, because who knows when it’ll happen again.

The opener on here is quite direct, it’s almost recognizable as the sort of work that Ant-Zen’s evil twin Hymen would release but there are these lapses between the beats which could only come from him. While others would stuff a bunch of unremarkable pops and glitches in the cracks to fill up space, he’s fine just letting them glare out at you. Don’t be fooled, however, the rest of ‘Family Value Pack’ isn’t like this one. He’s luring his listeners in, I think because he knows that the majority of those who are playing this aren’t aware of what he’s done in the past. It’s a wise move to blend in at first, even if you don’t really fit with the rest. Which in his case, would be putting it mildly.

The rest of his new one packs a punch, but not one that rests on the crutches of rhythm or distortion. The classic touches are certainly in abundance; sampled voices manipulated in an imprecise yet disturbingly inhuman manner… twisted, maliciously contorted sections of atmosphere reach down from the skies and strangle those below. All the while, Kendall cleverly holds back the flood, building up tension and discomfort until the end is reached. You must hear this from start to finish, jumping around won’t bring any satisfaction; people who read the last page of a novel are going to hate this album, there is simply too much patience required.

And yet, compared to what he’s put out previously, this is downright accessible. For me, at least. Some are going to term this “difficult” or “challenging” when it is neither. This is an introduction, a very astutely composed way towards the path not taken. I’d wager there may be some asinine gibberish over the title he’s picked but I think the idea of PK hanging out in a supermarket when inspiration hits is fantastic. It proves that when you’re truly talented, you don’t need a place and setting for the ideas to flow; they will find you wherever you are. And so this album has found me, happily gorging in the audio aisle on the offerings from a man who cannot be categorized.

Paul KendallFamily Value Pack
Ant-Zen, ACT315
CD 2014

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