Album ‘Kick The Ladder’ released May 21st via One Little Independent Records
Watch new video ‘Hypnotized’
Kick The Ladder’ the anticipated debut album from Icelandic composer and songwriter Kaktus Einarsson, frontman of post-punk outfit Fufanu, will be released by One Little Independent on May 21st. It was produced by Kaktus, alongside Swiss electronic composer Kurt Uenala aka Null & Void (who’s production credits include Depeche Mode, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Kills, Dave Gahan/Soulsavers and Moby), and finished in New York City.
New single ‘Hypnotized’ is inspired largely by the recent deportation of immigrants and their children from Iceland, some of whom have lived there all their lives. He asks “Are the children scared? Do they belong with us here?” Angered, schools marched against the bill which in turn had Kaktus ruminate on the wondrous innocence of youth, and how older generations often find their ethics clouded, forgetting the simple difference between right and wrong. “They do not bow their heads to the plan, nor adjust to the broken scam”.
The video is a collaboration between Kaktus and SnorriBros, shot with anamorphic lenses in a super wide ratio. He tells us “For the video of Hypnotized we wanted to create a journey through a world where the adults see nothing but colours and happiness while the “naive” children see the world as it is… unjust and frightening. We decided to make more use of camera movement and angles than in Kick the Ladder and Story of Charms, but stuck to the super wide format. When we came to the editing suite we saw quickly that we would be diverting from the split screen for this video. The journey was being told so beautifully that we didn’t want to take the focus away from that by pulling any stunts. It was so simple, clear and nice, just like the kids in the video and in the song. They see it as it is.”
Kaktus Einarsson continues to craft these mesmerizing soundscapes that focus on a fierce rhythm and addictive lyrics. The atmosphere developed becomes this immersive backdrop and with “Hypnotized”, Kaktus crafts this innovative exploration. The soundscape captures this sense of fragility within the honest lyrics and the delicate instrumentation. The big lead rhythm soon announces itself and its fierce inclusion into the orchestration provides this addictive pull to the movement. This is an explosive composition, it takes you on its essential wander and keeps you hooked throughout. What an artist!
Having just become a parent for the first time himself, childhood and naivety is something at the forefront of Kaktus’s mind. Across the album he sings about optimistic dreams and memories, how as we age we lose sight of what we want from life.
Einarsson (b. 1992) has led a remarkable musical life. Born and raised in Reykjavík, he was playing as part of experimental electronic act Ghostigital at the tender age of ten. In Fufanu, he opened hometown shows for Radiohead and Red Hot Chilli Peppers. The band also supported Blur in Hyde Park, and stormed the festival circuit, appearing at the likes of Primavera Sound, Rock Werchter, Musilac and Down The Rabbit Hole.
Now aged 28, Kaktus is beginning a new chapter with ‘Kick The Ladder’. Having honed his understanding of songwriting, recording, and production, the LP is the culmination of his experience in contemporary classical and pop music, and bridges the two sides of his work. Kaktus wrote the album in Iceland, then developed its sound in Copenhagen in collaboration with French prepared piano experimentalist Thibault Gomez.
“I was using my knowledge of extended playing techniques and the contemporary repertoire, and getting them into my pop music,” he says. “We replaced synths with acoustic sounds that are familiar, but unfamiliar in many ways. It’s all organic, there are no artificial effects: we created all the effects with this one instrument, the grand piano. We tried it for every situation. To build up tension and suspension in songs and sounds we would scratch, e-bow and regular bowing the strings inside of the piano for example, and even play with brooms on the belly of the grand piano. Used it even as a drum machine!”
The result is a profound, melodic record with an expansive and innovative sound. The album also sees Kaktus evolve as a vocalist and lyricist. “Every song on this album is a love letter to my environment, and my surroundings,” he says. “Some of the songs are a dialogue between two people, others might be written to nature, and what is happening to our planet.”
- Kick The Ladder
- Oceans Heart
- No Runaway
- Daydream Echo
- Gone To Bed
- My Driver
- Story Of Charms
- One Of Those
- Space Soul