Chris Forsyth - Kenzo Deluxe (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Chris Forsyth

Kenzo Deluxe (2012)

Northern Spy Records

Kenzo Deluxe, the latest record from guitarist Chris Forsyth, accomplishes a whole lot with very little. Its 40 minutes of music consist solely of Forsyth's instrument, occasionally drenched in reverb, seeking out soundscapes in the name of blues and folk. It's a dreamy little record, and a rewarding listen as well.

Or, it becomes one in time. Kenzo Deluxe opens with "The First 10min of Cocksucker Blues," and it's a bit of a drag. It's bluesy alright, but the song changes rhythms at a glacial pace. Granted, the album overall goes for the same hypnotic quality, but here the approach is taken to an absurd, lengthy extreme. The record essentially starts off with a 10-minute mulligan. Plus, it doesn't quite gel with the rest of the record, as the bluesy tone conflicts with the mellower folk picking that comes later. While "Cocksucker" finally gets going about six minutes in, that's a heck of a wait. Still, those who can get through the song are in for a treat.

"Downs and Ups" starts the record properly, and gives a better indication of the album's overall sound. The blues influence is gone, giving way to a more contemplative, folk arrangement. The final four tracks of Kenzo Deluxe (or three, given that "Boston St. Lullaby" is broken up into two installments) combine to form a more ethereal record than "Cocksucker" hinted at. These songs are subtle and quiet, perhaps best utilized as background music, but they're still solid all the same. While Kenzo Deluxe is certainly a sleepy record, it's a fine listen for more somber moments.