Is it a good idea to write a review about a record called Void when being on a positive, near-ecstatic swing? Well, we‘ll see, right? What is pretty clear is that KEN mode have done it again and are seemingly unable to deliver some shitty shit, as theirs is always awesome! Void is no exception to this!
Void is the sister album to last year’s Null which was a masterpiece in and of itself (as you can read here) - the songs for both records were recorded by Andrew Schneider at the same time in the fall of 2021 and if you want to know the reason why they were, you can check out the interview at the bottom of this page, where we talk with Jesse about that and a lot more.
Let’s have a look at the record – unlike it very rowdy, rabid and punchy sister, Void convinces with a kind of melancholy and sadness, hopelessness and uncertainty that Null didn’t show amid all its Noise elements and Hardcore attacks. The songs were written at different times during the pandemic of 2020 to 2022 and back then it was a tiny bit unclear which song would wind up on which record. However, Jesse points out that during the further stages it became pretty clear which tracks would form which album because they shared some kind of red thread. And the red thread on this second record is surely a certain leaning to the darker side of things, which clearly reflects on the time of their inception and writing.
These eight tracks do not necessarily fight with each other, yet they also do not support each other, they rather appear like individuals who share on thing – their point in time and the hopelessness that the second and third lockdowns “provided” us with. There was this point in 2021 when it all felt as if this would never end, as if life might never be normal again, as if meeting people and not having to separate from your loved ones were things from the past. Long deceased friends and relatives who you couldn’t even say your last goodbyes too, because it was not allowed or too dangerous, or both. The void of the lockdowns had already placed a crushing and suffocating weight upon our shoulders and it all bore down on us and squeezed the air out of our lungs and our emotions out from our brains. The cage that our homes had become were not golden anymore and the happiness that video calls with friends and family could provide were simply not satisfactory enough. Life had become nothing but an empty hole, a “void”.
KEN mode’s new record reflects this void with many songs that are not fueled anymore but that are pure resignation in a way, because the lockdowns before had not done the trick, why should this one? Why should life really become normal again. And which music might provide a better red thread for all of this than Post-Punk? To make it clear once and for all – the melancholy, the infinite sadness and the overweight depression that comes with Post-Punk is basically unbeatable when trying to point out the despair and the loss of affection. Of course, you will find noisey, atonal elements on the record, like the horn parts on ”I cannot” or the sheer blood-rush that is the single ”Painless” - but these are exceptions. Here that depression is the new normal – and tracks like ”A Reluctance of Being” (with its programmatic line ”Every waking moment / Hurts / Just a Little Bit / More”) or the centerpiece ”These Wires” show that bass-driven, dark Post-Punk and nearly Gothic attitude team up perfectly with an existential dread in the face of that void that human life had gone and might never come again.
It’s hard to imagine a more adequate musical representation of the emotional weight of the pandemic and the lockdowns than Void and that is a very mighty achievement. Do we want to face it over and over again? Not sure, but great music doesn’t depend on the number of spins but rather on the “sticky-ness” of the tracks in your mind.Void sticks around. Void hurts. Void is important.
And here is our video that we did with Jesse about Void and also about it’s relation to NULL, enjoy!
[Note: Originally this special should have been published three days ago, on September 12, but due to technical problems and difficulties we were only able to do so today. Thus the mentioning of the wrong date in the course of the video.]