CD Review

B Movie Valentino - "Kiss Kill Whippoorwill"

By Marcus Pan

Kiss Kill WhipporwillBrand new from Bysshe Mourningstar is B Movie Valentino. Preaching the qualities of minimalism, purity and musical honesty, Bysshe attempts to keep the music of BMV as true to himself as he can. As far as I know, this is Bysshe's first solo project - he's currently involved with both Seraphim and The Transmitters. In BMV he uses barely any computerization - much of it is acoustic guitar melodies and muted drum beats. The vocals he provides are fitting and sound very distant.

Bysshe shows his prowess with guitars throughout this demo release. His vocals, like I said, sound far away. This adds a dream-like effect to the music - almost like it is through a dream that he plays for you. He breathes the lyrics at you instead of reciting them. The drum beats are there only to provide some sort of movement to the songs, which comes in handy during the various guitar changes and chord progressions. It's not used to it's full effect though - with a very minimal sound that has only bass, guitar, drums and vocals, all four of these could and should be used as their own instrument. The guitars and vocals do this well, from the opening electronically-touched chords of Mystery Girl to the electro-strums of the ending Pretty track. The bass and drums, however, are there just to keep the song moving forward - a metronome, that's all. While it keeps the rhythm straight and the songs moving, it lends itself to monotony more than I'd like.

The opening track of Kiss Kill Whippoorwill is very pretty. It's called Mystery Girl and the guitar chords are strong and only lightly-tinted with electronic energy to provide an echoing effect. Scattered, the third track on the album, is one of the ones that succumbs to the monotony I mentioned. This feeling mostly occurs during a guitar chord-solo near the end of the song and then it goes into the last stanza and drags to the end. Cold also falls prey to this dragging. My favorite song on this album is the closing track, Pretty. The guitar strumming takes on a Victorian sound here, the bass providing a background to the lyrics. I swear I've heard this song before - the vocal melody is so familiar, but I just can't place it.

BMV definitely stays true to the artist's, Bysshe's, vision of purity. The guitar is well-handled and the vocals are dreamy and distant. The drums and bass could have been modified a bit to add more complication - but the problem there is the loss of the minimalism that Bysshe is trying to create here. But the danger, as always, with creating minimalistic music and trying to keep it as simple as possible is the possibility of monotony. Much of BMV's Kiss Kill Whippoorwill keeps the sound of dragging at bay, but on some tracks like Scattered and Cold it's there and threatens the beauty that lies in the honesty of the music by droning it away.

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