Philip R. from CASA GRANDE, AZ Reviewed on 4/15/2011...
Kaki's first three albums are brilliant. If you can have only one of them, though, make it this one.
Better compositions; definite progression and growth.
D. Mok | Los Angeles, CA | 10/26/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This was exactly the album Kaki King needed to make after her impressive but shapeless debut, Everybody Loves You.
On this record, her major-label debut, Kaki King has retained most of her wild experimentations but refined it with melodic and rhythmic progressions that actually take you to different places rather than aimlessly noodling. And this was exactly what her music needed. Now her compositions create moods and paces, colours and feelings, while her ear-grabbing techniques help to keep things fresh. Witness Solipsist, which sonically and instrumentally sounds a lot like the songs from her debut. But this time, the music moves forward and makes variations, rather than repeat a rhythmic motif (as most of the material did on Everybody Loves You).
Several of the tracks here remind me of Joe Satriani in a good way, in terms of their rock-based rhythms and melodies, and King's chordal harmonies have gotten lusher and more interesting, jazzier yet more engaging, with much better recording to back it up. "Ingots" is my favourite track, opening on a galloping tapped beat with the acoustic guitar entering with mysterious accents, followed by a propelling octave melody and then a nervous, almost unhinged melody based on string slides, ending on a crescendo, building in intensity as no other King track has ever done. The New Age "All the Landslides Birds Have Seen Since the Beginning of the World" is lovely and sparse, dispensing with King's signature rhythmic tricks (again, a great sign of growth, adapting techniques to songs rather than the other way around), and King even attempts to sing on "My Insect Life". Her vocals are really nothing to write home about, being breathy and thin, but just because her main tool is her guitar doesn't mean she shouldn't explore her other dimensions. Even Eric Johnson sings occasionally on his songs, and if it helps convey different layers in the music, all the better.
I see the detractors to King's style and this record, and I understand some of their points. But I'll also say that I love this record, and if you've read enough of my reviews, you know I'm not exactly merciful if I don't like something. To me, this record is a gem, the coming of age of an artist who is fulfilling her potential."
Wow, some people really hate this CD
Manfesto | 11/17/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It's kinda scary how much some people really, really hate this CD, saying Kaki King ripped off Hedges and Reed. Well, first off, she studied with Preston Reed and has his blessing "while I steal his best licks," and in an interview in acoustic guitar magazine, she even says that she sounds like Hedges and Reed right now but hopes to develop her own sound over the rest of her life. God, she's 25, if she doesn't have room to grow, what's she gonna do? Anyhoo, I enjoy this record. Alot. Her technique may not be new, but her sense of melody is quite stellar, as is her songwriting. Her note choices convey emotion and image. It is a real feat when one can write a song and tell a story, and not have any words to it. Her playing can be quite frenetic, especially on "magazine," or quite laid back, like on "My insect life," the perfect track to fall asleep to at night. Her strongest songs fall somewhere in between, like "Playing with Pink noise" and "Doing the Wrong Thing," though my personal track is "Ingots," a mid-tempo song you can just put on repeat and enjoy. A few songs seem to be lack luster and too long, but thankfully that doesn't make up most of the album. On a whole, this CD is great, it is a step up from the somewhat undefined "Everybody Loves You." She seems to be starting to develop her own voice and sense of melody, and she's so young, by the time she's as old as Preston Reed is now, I'm sure we can expect something amazing.
Listen to the clips on this site - if you like what you hear, buy this CD. If you don't like what you hear simply because she isn't the late great Michael Hedges, then I'm sorry. You're missing out on some really great music just because it isn't as good as music from the guy that INVENTED THE GENRE OF MUSIC."
o dubhthaigh | north rustico, pei, canada | 02/17/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Along with Goren Sollscher's ELEVEN STRING BAROQUE, this CD is just an amzing testament to an incredible guitarist, one you're not likely to hear as incredibly presented as this any time soon. Sollscher takes remarkable leaps with his dynamic 11 string work. Listening to King on this CD, I thought she could give the Viking a run for his money with just the 6 she plucks, strums, hammers and bends. Having siad that, this is not the heavy mental stuff essayed by Michael Hedges, but more in touch with the melodic spirit embraced by middle period Bruce Cockburn or Leo Kottke. There is a sense of song about every track. There is precious little adornment and effects. None are needed. She is her own woman and she holds down the center brilliantly, while leaping in extraordinary directions. Imagine Bill Bruford playing guitar. If you have an avocation for the six string, pick this up. This woman is going places. Ezra Mohawk finally has a worthy successor."
Sweet guitar sounds, plain and simple.
E. White | Los Angeles, CA | 11/04/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I dont understand the "hype" leaning in either direction on this cd. I am a fan of music and guitar and I bought Kaki's first cd after seeing her open for Keb Mo last year. I thought that "Everybody Loves You" had some great songs on it, but needed a bit more direction in the music. I was looking forward to the release of a new cd and I am not at all disappointed by "Legs to Make Us Longer."
The album starts off with the slow, gorgeous, and almost chilling "Frame." Then it really gets going during "Playing With Pink Noise" which has a lot of guitar percussion and loud chords in it. As far as I can tell, there are only two other songs on the cd that utilize the Preston Reed style of tapping, "Solipsist" and "Magazine." (Looking over the notes inside the cd, I see that there is actually a special thanks to Preston Reed where Kaki thanks him for giving her his blessing for letting her steal his licks. At least she gives credit where credit is obviously due.) The other songs on the album are slower and showcase beautiful (anyone hear melancholy?) writing instead of fast technique. My favorites include "Doing The Wrong Thing," played on an electric guitar with bluegrass drums behind it and some surprise strings at the end, "Lies," a song that has a jazzy introduction but then starts in with a strong rhythm and melody, and "Can the Gwot Save Us?," which is a very slow, very sad song played on an electric lap steel. "My Insect Life," is the only song on which Kaki sings with a soft, childish, almost out of tune, but sweetly endearing voice. This overall is a very strong record that takes a few listens to get in to. Not for someone in need of instant gratification, but well worth it in the end.
Every bit of press I've read online about Kaki is incredibly positive, perhaps fawning at some times. I think that the best way to experience her is live, but admittedly, she isn't for everyone. Dont believe the hype, listen to the clips, and if you like them then buy the cd.
And check out the video for "Pink Noise" on the cd. She really does look cute."