A hard-luck crew strutted through downtown Istanbul across the rotary overlooking the Golden Horn from Galata to the back alleys of Pera, tossing roasted chestnuts against old buildings and screaming to abandon about the ways of a city that would never be contained in maps, religions, empires, nations. Only a sound would drive the haunting course of life as it churned and bled into the round of what was left of lstanbul’s byzantine history, transforming and trained into the speed of a fine-cut rush, into the capsule of nighttime risks leading to the only light visible to the few who could still stand after another day bowled, working and slacking within the Bosporus megalopolis.
A little lady of the crew, well-dressed and prim top-to-bottom scanned the crowds massing and filing through the venue doors at Salon IKSV, past backstage invitations and into the moneyed vacuums of the house bar and its overpriced cache of import bottles. She stopped dead, her ecstatic pupils dilating all the more at the sight of an ex, the one latest, who tore her heart a new aorta and replaced it with the bloody cackles of a woman mad and undead in the unforgiving night. They passed through the doors into the Salon concert hall like junk into a raw, untapped vein, flowing forth to stage front and center.
A couple of young young girls licked each other to abandon, mouths engorged with tongues flailing as the man walked onstage behind his band, King Krule is the name, rock music boy wonder of repute, just another twenty-something aka Archy Marshall who by the tattered, outworn looks of him, clothed in his signature elbow-ripped shirt, begged some to question, “How’d he get up there?” And then he blew a gasket raging out with “Has This Hit” the third track from his debut album, 6 Feet Beneath the Moon. It’s an embittered anthem to the solitary freedom of total individuality: “When I look into the sky there is no meaning, because I’m the only one believing. There is nothing to believe in.”
King Krule has captured the flaccid London fog ambiance dense with new ways of lyrics and pure original depth mined from the awful cold of the Thames like an unending nuclear winter of the world’s Anglophilic monotony. Backed by a thrilling heehaw of bandmates, greasy bassist and wailing backup vocalist James Wilson, stratospheric throw-switch guitar by Jack Towell, cool electronic artist Connor Atanda aka Rago Foot, granite foundation of drums by George Bass and a secret weapon of sonic diversity from Argentine saxophonist Ignacio Salvadores, he sounded off in mighty roars and an avalanche of a presence with his latest release, a 19-track album called The OOZ. Its hot single, “Dum Surfer” he sang third on the early February eve for his first appearance in Istanbul.
Unlike some of the others cooped up in Marmara Hotel around the block from the venue, the saxophonist Salvadores put on his free-spirit shoes and sauntered about the Sublime Porte listening to the sound of the Muslim call to prayer with a couple of Turkish girls at his side, new acquaintances looking for an in into the inner circle of the much hyped gig. He talked to them about how Archy is growing as an artist, as is clear with his second full and proper studio album The OOZE and that audiences in England tended to be even younger than in Turkey. In any country, he said, at times the craze just feels like younger people watching young people.
“I like Istanbul. It’s like Buenos Aires,” said Salvadores. “The audience here was different but good. Different than what we’re used to, but everywhere the audience is different. I enjoy meeting locals, to see people that I don’t see everyday. Onstage, there are cues that you need to follow, but I like being free. I approach the music emotionally. It took me some time to get over my shyness. It takes strength to get onstage. Being present onstage is important. If you are stiff, you can’t play. Being awake, growing as a person is also important, in life and in art.”
Salvadores started playing with King Krule after he sent a video of himself on sax through Facebook. It was chemical magic that ensued, as Salvadores brings a refined ugly beauty to the sound that Marshall perfects with his off-kilter baritone voice matched by the baritone sax. Raised by high liberated horn blasts and crisp electronic guitar warbles, his lyric-heavy songs become melodic infusions of raw noise, cracking and spilling into the airwaves like a titanic tsunami ripping at the pulse, while staying clean and stylish on the one beat.
Ending the ride of a night with “Easy Easy” off his first album, the brotherly loner King Krule led the way through the whole crashing catastrophe of youth and its random mixtape of experience in the world media-res wrapped up, handed back to anyone and everyone with an ear to hear it issue from a mind throughly doused in its unanswered enigmas, its obscure light.