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Kirin J. Callinan – Embracism album review

Kirin J. Callinan has something to prove musically, which seems to be that one man, a guitar, and a semi-circular arrangement of multiple effects pedals can sound like a tripped out version of new-wave music (Victoria M.) or like experimental music made by one man with a tonnage of effects pedals.

Honestly, when the second track- which happens to be the title track- kicked in, I thought I was going to be disappointed, because it was kind of a letdown after the first track, and I still think it’s a relative weak spot in the overall track arrangement. The general impression is that this guy has a very interesting musical imagination and tons of aural histrionics; this thing is all over the place stylistically. Even a track that I’m not terribly in love with, namely Scraps, is still so musically interesting that you can’t help but be pulled along.


Chardonnay Sean is an interesting musical tryptich. The actual body of the song is bookended by some very intriguing atmospheric work. The actual song itself ends up being a lot more musically interesting than it seems like its going to be.

As you can probably tell, I have a somewhat ambiguous relationship with Callinan’s music. He’s obviously really talented and has a unique musical mind, but there’s something about the end result that just doesn’t quite sit right with me. It has something to do with his crooning baritone and his choice of lyrics; the way those things are juxtaposed against the music does not come off as naturalized to me. The instrumental aspect of things is nothing short of visionary. Maybe I’ll learn to love the whole thing one day.

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