Ex pat Craig Ward brings his Belgian influences to the mainstream for the first time in an experimental debut album.
Sighting experimental, progressive and rock as the three main genres of their music, A Clean Kitchen is a Happy Kitchen (ACKHK) are very much on the borderline between creative art and unadulterated noise. Catering very much to a niche market with their self titled and styled debut album, ACKHK could be the answer to the question you’ve been asking yourself.
Formed by Scotsman Craig Ward and Bootsie Butsenzeller, this trio made complete with Zahnoun Ben Younes on bass have been making some noise, no pun intended, on their respective circuits in Antwerp for a number of years. Finding kindred spirits in each other’s abilities and musical tastes, ACKHK was formed, the explosive and volatile experimental sound that is a signature of their work coming together nicely.
As debut albums go, A Clean Kitchen is a Happy Kitchen could be interpreted in one of two ways. Either it is seen as a rather stuttering start for a band seemingly trying to break into a mainstream audience beyond the borders of their native Belgium. Or conversely for those fans who are much more inclined to listen to improvised guitars, highly smashed synthesizers and just the faintest touch of a percussion section, it could be heralded as one of the greatest of all time.
With tracks such as “Farmers with Televisions”, “Priss” and “Safety Shot”, Ward and his band mates keep their cards close to their chest when inviting listeners into their world. Bemoaning lyrics poorly dubbed in behind the music and a permanently distorted sense of production are no doubt staples of the groups own sense of art and styling. However to the uneducated in the world of improvised and frankly ignorant members of the public and therefore those outside of the bands already established fan base, this comes across as arrogant at best.
Indeed the album and ACKHK are competent at what they do, it just seems confusing to the listeners as to what that is exactly. In regards to their attempt to spread to a wider audience, it is both a brave and perhaps misguided decision to have such an inwardly directed, self satisfying record as this in which to progress any further. To further confuse listeners, acts such as Emerson, Lake & Palmer, KISS and Rush are cited as influences. Of course the adage that this music would not be made if punters did not listen to it can always be said and the best of luck in the future can be given to this currently unsigned act.
The band’s debut is released on the 21st of March 2011 via Jezus Factory Records: http://www.myspace.com/riefenstahl23, http://www.heavenhotel.be/jezusfactory/start.php?var=bands&BID=9