Written By Caleb Oldham
Everyday the sun rises. We go to work or school, come home, perform the same routines until the reset button gets pushed. The French philosopher Camus compared our condition to that of Sisyphus, who, according to Greek mythology, was eternally damned to push a giant boulder up to the top of a hill only to see it roll all the way down to the bottom once it reached the summit. After listening to the most recent release of King Don’t, an electronic artist from Springfield, Missouri, I’m convinced that the metaphor has changed. We are now watching a never-ending parade that marches on a loop. It’s not so much that we’re struggling anymore but observing. We can run forwards and backwards, but the only thing we’re changing is our position relative to the spectacle.
Parade, from its cryptic Myspace-era photo cover, to its overarching theme of confronting the restless, cyclical drudgery of life, is an album that raises questions about the value of outdated technology in our lives, and how to break out of the role of the observer.
To begin with, the record is populated by interludes that all share the title “***” These interludes range from a Willy Nelson song that kicks off the album, repeating the line “And tomorrow starts the same old thing again,” to a cassette-manipulated version of “Monday Morning” by Fleetwood Mac. There are almost as many of these interludes as there are songs, each interlude acting as an introduction to the trap-beat-driven, low fidelity electronic music of King Don’t.
Seth Goodwin, the man behind the moniker, shoves the listener’s head underwater into a liminal space somewhere between the familiar and the uncanny before bringing us up for air to listen to his own pop inspired noise ventures.
Goodwin’s original material sounds busy — it’s obvious he’s using more than a couple features on the Korg board featured on the cover photo. Even though he keeps his distance, giving preference to the wailing melodic aspect of his voice over articulation, shrouding himself with a production style that’s anything but stripped down, his music remains profoundly personal, revealing the image of a man surrounded by “Vultures,” watching “Another Parade” inhabiting a world where you, and everything you contribute is simply “Never Enough.”
Despite the personal nature of his music, Goodwin’s tunes remain highly danceable. In fact, every song off the album has some sort of physical effect on the listener. From the jump and stomp anthem “Never Enough” to the swaying of “Another Parade,” backed up by beats akin to Yuko Yuko’s style of percussion, King Don’t demonstrates the full potential of synth sounds that some might consider outdated. Yet, in light of the subject matter, the album’s composition, and the platform on which it was released, Goodwin’s project represents something very modern. You might find synth tones that you recognize from a different era, but not in this context. Above all, Parade is an album that you build a personal relationship with.
Listen to more of King Don't on his Bandcamp.