REVIEW: Kohwi – Hidden Trees

kohwi hidden trees

I come across a lot of music in my daily travels through the internet – some of it good, some of it bad, and some deserving of ridiculous levels of ambivalence. One musical project that I was fortunate enough to discover via the world wide web is Kohwi; I was drawn in by the chill wave-esque cover, which promised hazy beats aplenty, hell, maybe even some kitschy 90s samples if I was lucky. When I played the album, however, I was transfixed by something that was quite unlike the generic hipster pop I expected.

I don’t know what the man behind Kohwi looks like. I couldn’t find anything, maybe ‘he’ is a she. If he does possess genitalia of the male persuasion I imagine he wears plaid and has a beard, although I too am wearing a plaid shirt and have a beard as we speak, so… I’m not entirely sure what point I was trying to make.

‘Hidden Trees’ is not an album that kicks around the bush. This album gets its foot lodged in the bush and has to go to hospital to have it removed. It wastes no time on getting into the first track – ‘Reeling The Warmth’, an appropriate title considering the warm synths and soothing, distant vocals that seem to hover just outside of your peripheral vision, as it were. ‘Weekrot’ begins with a blooping, piercing introduction that morphs into the stabby, metallic synth punches of the actual track, building up to bubbly electronic conclusion.

He doesn’t really make any serious departures from this sound on the album – which is no bad thing – swooning synths spinning round your head like recently expelled marijuana smoke. The distorted piano of the one minute track ‘Over Clothes’ acts a nice divider, lethargic like a quiet seaside road between two vaguely-recollected beach parties. ‘Hobbies’ is a collaboration with pal Jordan Lee, also known as Mutual Benefit, himself a purveyor of his own ‘sick’ lo-fi tunes, last.fm christening his music as ‘laser-folk’. For me, this joint effort is one of the strongest tracks on the album, something about the far-off vocals just really strikes a chord, reminding me a little of a drunken Noah Lennox.

‘Psychadelic sleep music’ is the first musical Last.fm tag for Kohwi, the actual first tag being the ever infuriating ’under 2000 listeners’. Not only do I have issue with the tagger’s spelling, I have issues with the classification of this as ’sleep music’. I see it as anything but – I see it as music to stay awake all night to, watching bad horror films and fantasising about the caffeine and ecstasy-fuelled adventures you will doubtlessly have on the morrow.

I love bad horror films, and I love Kohwi.

8/10

Liam