Every summer is a palimpsest. New experiences are overlaid on old memories, compete with traditional rituals. Every picnic, festival, carnival, outdoor concert, fireworks display, lake-jump, dock-sit is painted over the ones of our past. Nostalgia lingers around every corner.
Corn Maze is Kong Must Dead’s summer fun EP, though as we’ve come to expect from these North Carolina tricksters, summer fun includes equal measures of playfulness and darkness, tunefulness and experimentation, heart-on-sleeve sentiment and wry humor. In typical KMD fashion, this three-song set covers a lot of stylistic and procedural ground, and lays the groundwork for new directions by the trio of Ben Hjertmann, Jonathon Sale, and R.J. Wuagneux.
Opener “Corn Days” evokes the washed-out colors of Midwestern summers past, and light-hearted, light-headed summer radio hits of the ‘90s and early ‘00s. “Bluebeard” draws together Kong past, present and future with its bowed music stand beats and fast-paced mondegreen lyrics. And “Spearhead” layers sound and speech, with Hjertmann singing in a non-existent language. Long-held material sits beside instrumental improvisation; careful wordplay interacts with spontaneous digital verbalization.
The corn is high. Have an ice cream, have a sit, have a listen.