David King is one of my absolute favorite musicians. He is one of those people who transcends taste, genre, and most categories of generalizations. He makes music. It's that simple. He has been making music with groups like the Bad Plus and Happy Apple for years. However, Indelicate is the first time that audiences have had the opportunity to enjoy his piano playing. In reaction to this album, Ethan Iverson of the Bad Plus and Do The Math called it:
"Funky, swinging, and ludicrously difficult… Music that could only have been created by Dave King.” (His complete comments regarding album can be and should be read here)
The compositional make up of Indelicate tends to draw from the minimalist aesthetic as it focuses on rhythmic interactions exposed through repetition. Like everything Dave King, the shelf life of this album is extremely high; you can hear this album ten thousand times and still find more to consider and more to be excited about.
Dave King: Homage: Young People
The album's second offering is King's tribute to youth. The opening melody sounds like it is emanating from a tin can because it was originally recording on a Dictaphone and was later mashed up with a chordal jam in C major. This is a prime example of King's inventiveness and experimental musical nature. He is never above 'playing' as a part of his practice and compositional routine. This exploration opens the door for the potential to perform with new and beautiful sounds. This piece is unbelievably unique, don't let something this special pass you by without serious reflection.
Following the opening gesture the chordal section emerges. The use of repetition here is typical of King's use of repetition across the entire album in that the exploitation of simple melodic content allows the listener the opportunity to pay attention to the subtle interactions between King the pianist and King the drummer. For me, the space between piano and drums and how they interact is the main focal point of this record.
Dave King: Bees
This piece opens with a fractured melodic statement guided by a strong rhythmic backbone. Bees is perhaps the most Bad Plussian tune on the record. It is David King doing what he does best; making the seemingly ugly beautiful with impeccable phrasing and rhythmic intrigue. Dave King pioneers new frontiers of groove when he works in melodies and rhythms like this.
Dave King: I See You, You See Me
This work was composed for his daughter and its melodic pacing meanders as the music unfolds itself to the listener. It is as if the piece is deciding its next move only after the completion of its previous. This composition is a lullaby for his child and as such, the meandering and seemingly undirected fragility of this music are a perfect fit for its function. We should all be so lucky as to have a personal lullaby as intimate and highly individual as this.
Dave King is a consummate original; he walks it, talks it, and plays it. You can find Indelicate for sale on itunes here, his work with the Bad Plus here, and Happy Apple here. You can find more TWD articles that concern the music of Dave King by searching his name, the Bad Plus, or Happy Apple in the search menu. Finally, his personal blog, Know Your Improviser, is a gem and you're not going to want to miss it.