Mankid 1

Back in the early days of high school, a friend lent me CD copy of Boredoms’ Super Roots 3. The first thing I remember hearing on that album is that rallying cry, the one that launches into a mono-riffic 33 minutes while drums gallop and crash with athletic intensity. I had never before considered the possibility of laughing and head banging at the same time, but upon hearing the track that’s exactly what I did. I laughed not because I found the music funny, but because how extreme the ensuing half hour was. It wasn’t just intense, it was exuberantly so. Later on, I’d feel the same quality in other acts who were just as insane in their antics, and were somehow able to include audiences in those antics.

The same can be said for Mankid, the nom de guerre of New York artist Sean Kelly. By turns foreboding and exultant, his latest tape Mankid 1 offers up frenetic drumming backed by pulsing, sonorous live electronics. Each of the three tracks plays like the sonic equivalent of an action painting; thunderous kick drums collide and crash with cymbals and ringing snares in rapid volleys that beset the expressive burst and squeals of electronics.

If there are any spiritual forebears to sounds like this, they would almost certainly be Mindflayer or Black Pus, the side projects of Lightning Bolt drummer Brian Chippendale. Both Mankid and the aforementioned projects revel in a technicolor, brain-melting fervor where any viewer or listener can’t help but become absorbed into the physicality of each performance. In fact, it is in this same performative space where Kelly operates best. However, there is a fundamental difference between Mankid and the aforementioned projects, and that is because his percussive tantrums of snares and cymbals feel more rooted in the improvisations of modern free jazz. This lends an air of unpredictability to the compositions that, although well-suited to any live performance, are captured well on this tape.

Kyle M.

December 8th, 2015