Music Review | posted 19.06.2015
Ken Camden
Dream Memory
Kranky, 2015
Text Sebastian Hinz , Translation Julia Frohn
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Cover Ken Camden - Dream Memory

It’s a well-known phenomenon that guitarists try to mingle with electronic music. The list of representatives who have successfully managed to gap these styles ranges from Christian Fennesz to Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe and Sam Prekop. Now, Ken Camden, former guitarist of the experimental rock-quartet Implodes, is trying to get his foot into the door. His method: Combining a steel string guitar with an e-bow, through which the strings are being put in such electromagnetic vibrations that it actually sounds like a bow on a string instrument – it’s an even, long-lasting sound, with the help of which he’s trying to close the sound gap between a guitar and a synthesizer. And this he manages, too, but it still doesn’t make a good album. What’s missing on Ken Camden’s third solo-record in order for him to parade with the above mentioned is urgency, composition and catchiness. On »Dream Memory«, all eight tracks are nothing but sketches. Of course, one could interpret this vagueness as part of the dream-concept; but the sounds are too indefinite for pictures or associations, so that they finally tilt into empty meditativeness. On »Renewal«, for instance, guitar picking is being combined with a volcatron (a molletron for vocals), and what comes out are synthesized sounds reminding the listener of Peruvian panpipe-music that middle-aged women buy in pedestrian areas to demonstrate their open-mindedness. With three minutes of playing time, it’s two and a half minutes to long. And still, the title track »Dream Memory« proves how good it could have turned out if Ken Camden had earnestly tried to give his approach more narrative depth.

You can find »Dream Memory« by Ken Camden at hhv.de: LP
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