Kid Koala’s Music To Draw To Is An Ambient Opus
If you’re looking for a word to describe Canadian turntablist/visual artist/composer extraordinaire Eric San (aka Kid Koala), try “enthusiastic.” Since bursting onto the scene over 20 years ago, the Montreal-based scratch devotee has made a name for himself with his endless energy, skills behind the wheels of steel and all-around interest in pushing his craft, whatever that may be—onward and upward.
He’s helped create the soundtrack to a cartoon band, a kids show, a sci-fi hip-hop odyssey, has made music for bank robbers, toured with Radiohead and been at the centre of some of the most memorable performances this country has even seen. But he’s never done anything quite as epic, engrossing and emotional as his latest album, Music to Draw To: Satellite, an 18-track, 72-minute ambient opus about a pair of star-crossed lovers and the one-way space mission to Mars that separates them.
An 80-page sketchbook packaged with the album fleshes out the full story, but San—who plays triple-duty as producer, performer (this is his first non sample-based album, with all the instruments and effects being manipulated by him and him alone) and lyricist—is able to transport listeners to the depths of space, or wherever their imagination wills them. He collaborated with Icelandic vocalist Emilíana Torrini, who somehow makes this sometimes stark, often celestial-sounding record even more chilling with her captivating performances on tracks like “Collapser” and “Adrift.”
Originally envisioned as the first in a series of efforts to help inspire artists (hence the title), this is the perfect album to sleep, cry or meditate to. It’s an album for life on this planet from an artist usually obscured by the whirring of machines. Imagine that.