Internationally renowned guitarist and composer Kaki King joins the Cantaloupe Music family with her latest album, Modern Yesterdays. Co-produced with sound designer Chloe Alexandra Thompson and recording engineer Arjan Miranda, it’s her first full-length studio project since the 2015 release of The Neck Is A Bridge to the Body (“bursting with masterclass talent,” as reviewed in PopMatters), and her first to be recorded almost entirely on acoustic guitar.
Rich in post-classical, jazz, folk and blues-flavored motifs, as well as electronic and electro-acoustic influences, Modern Yesterdays mines a poignant, meditative arc that not only fits the mood of these turbulent times, but once again establishes King as a tirelessly inventive composer whose imagination extends well beyond the sonic limits of her chosen instrument.
There’s a definite “covid aesthetic” that informs the album’s title, as King explains. “We talk about ‘the before,’ or back before the outbreak,” she says. “Time has barely passed. So I think there is a bit of a looking back that we’re all doing in every way about what we miss — what was good, what was bad, all of it. We’re all yearning in some ways for our modern yesterday, and in some ways saying well, there is clearly going to be a modern tomorrow too.”
The album’s first single “Teek” features Ethel’s Ralph Farris on viola. The second single “Forms of Light and Death” was arranged by Icelandic composer and synthesist Úlfur Hansson, and is the only song to feature King on electric guitar. “Can’t Touch This or That or You or My Face” is the album’s third single — a quietly beat-driven excursion into a multi-hued sonic future.