Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJ’s think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on the Midday Show with Cheryl Waters, is “You” by Kyson from the 2016 album A Book Of Flying, on Friends of Friends.
If you had only heard his 2013 debut LP or his previous EPs, you might think of Kyson only as an “electronic artist”. Though true, from the beginning, the Australian-born, German-based artist (real name Jian Kellett Liew) has composed everything from hip-hop influenced to ambient textured tracks full of samples, synths and programmed beats, it’s only now that he has fully embraced the singular quality of his glorious voice. Like José González, Justin Vernon, James Blake, and others, Kyson probes the ether with his soaring vocals on A Book Of Flying, his forthcoming release (due April 1). On songs like “You”, today’s featured podcast, he bolsters his gentle, airy vocals with minimal production and intimate instrumentation, mixing pristine drones, shimmering keys, and plaintive fingerpicking. Such intimate recordings, you’d think he’d done it all in his bedroom (and you may be right!), but the songs implore you to look outward (“no man’s a forest, even if he tries to be one”), and, as you hear the light leaf-crunching effects in “You”, you’ll find yourself already wandering, and searching, beside him.
You’ll have to look for him for a while yet, as Kyson doesn’t yet have tour listed, but hopefully he’ll hit the road after A Book Of Flying is released. For now, keep up with him on his website and Facebook page, and check out this video for “A Song About The Future”, another track from the forthcoming LP: