Three decades into an unparalleled career, Kid Koala continues to grow his immersive this-dimensional real-life, cartoon musical universe with each orbit around the sun. The world-renowned DJ, composer, and lifelong visual storyteller, also known as Eric San, recently announced his newest foray into the depths of “creating things to joyfully connect people” – an original double album soundtrack with built-in board game entitled Creatures Of The Late Afternoon. Centred around a cast of creatures who band together through the power of music to save their community from destruction, the album and the game together bear Kid Koala’s singular ability to bring to life the interactive worlds of his multifaceted multimedia imagination.
Kid Koala has shared a new single and video from the project, “1000 Towns” – a deliberate and bluesy love song that deftly blends the expressiveness of hip-hop with the frayed and playful soul of garage rock, all conjured by tugging at the heartstrings of his turntables. Featuring the sweet yet distorted tin can vocals of guest singer Coelacanth, “1000 Towns” is built around an ambling piano melody, laden in needle scratches and percussive accidents, like many Kid Koala creations before it – in “1000 towns / 1000 times / Standing on the stage / Spinning plates around.” The magic of the song is in San’s uncanny ability to divine its authentic sound in an original context through the most complicated methods and experimental instruments, to hang it with brilliant ease on a melodic hook and vicarious emotion in a taut two-and-a-minute package.
“1000 Towns” arrives with an animated lyric video directed by Montreal production company See Creature. Set against the sunset backdrop of the creatures’ apartment buildings, Kid Koala says the song “celebrates the upheaval of routines with the introduction of a new love in life,” as each song unique underscores a scene in the Creatures of the Late Afternoon board game storyline.
Creatures Of The Late Afternoon is what San calls “a journey through some of my favourite musical universes through the turntables.” What started as a testing ground for creating turntable tracks in different styles took shape as the score to an action film-inspired love story. The resulting album, a twenty-track two-disc set of instrumental jaunts, features guest vocalists, and robot hotel interludes, furthering Kid Koala’s experimentation in electric, beat-driven, groove-laden, self-sampling, heartrending (even if it’s heavy), purely beautiful music.
Leading up to the vinyl’s full release, Kid Koala is revealing the album in four stages, with “1000 Towns” being the fourth and final preview. The recently released “Things Are Gonna Change” features Los Angeles art pop sensation Lealani on vocals and showcases the motorik chase scene energy that Koala layers into the arc of the record, following the Morriocone-like “Once Upon A Time In The Northeast,” and the classic uprock beat of “Jump & Shuffle (Live At The Hardware Store).”
Creatures Of The Late Afternoon is currently available for preorder ahead of its April 14, 2023 release via Envision Records. Featuring 20 new Kid Koala tracks on double vinyl in gatefold jacket, plus 8 vinyl-only board game tracks, the package includes inserts with game pieces, dice, and 150 game cards. Built integrally into the vinyl gatefold jacket, the board game is set at a communal hub of DIY recording studios where various bands of creatures collaborate to explore different ways of expressing and enjoying music.
Kid Koala says:
“This is the most playful and dynamic album I’ve done to date. It was a fun time in the studio, exploring the writing/recording process in this way. There is a wide range of moods on the tracks in terms of both energy and emotion and I’m excited about how the music has turned out. Now I can’t wait to get working on the stage production!”
San performed and recorded all the instruments in his Montreal studio, then cut the stems to vinyl on his homespun record lathe and reassembled them on turntables into the uplifting yet sentimental sonic adventure at hand.
Kid Koala has built an ever-expanding web of artistic universes that dart across disciplines yet always coalesce in San’s singular mindspace. Since starting as a scratch DJ in 1994, Kid Koala has transformed the turntable into a tool of expression, continuously challenging the idea of genre, always unfolding new pages of his singular artistic roadmap. Already including a constellation of immersive visual projects like his theatrical cinema experiences Nufonia Must Fall and the current globe-trotting The Storyville Mosquito production, Kid Koala expresses his unique creative vision with a multidimensional intersection of sound, image, and emotion. From his award-winning graphic novel Space Cadet to the interactive audience rituals of his Vinyl Vaudeville events, the Satellite Turntable Orchestra launched from his ambient Music To Draw To records, plus the breakdance video game Floor Kids, each new addition to Kid Koala’s portfolio charts a fascinating new course. The blueprint to a future stage show, Creatures Of The Late Afternoon, is an inspiring addition to Kid Koala’s armful of spinning dubplates.
Following February North American dates as a duo with Lealani, Kid Koala will present The Storyville Mosquito in Nashville in March, as well as Satellite Turntable Orchestra shows in St. Catherines, Ontario, in April.
TOUR DATES with The Storyville Mosquito:
Mar 23 – Nashville, TN – OZ Arts
Mar 24 – Nashville, TN – OZ Arts
Mar 25 – Nashville, TN – OZ Arts (2 shows)
Apr 6 – St. Catharines, ON – FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre (2 shows)
Apr 7 – St. Catharines, ON – FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre (2 shows)
Apr 8 – St. Catharines, ON – FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre (3 shows)
Connect with Kid Koala:
I grew up in Alberta, but spent most of my life in British Columbia – I also spent a lot of my summers in Britain as I was lucky enough to have immigrant parents with the capital to go visit our relatives. The amount of time I spent overseas makes it hard for me to say I feel fully Canadian, but it does make me feel typically Canadian as so many of us have mixed parentage. My parents defined another divide in me as I feel inexorably pulled to both science and the art; my father being a doctor and my mother being a school teacher. I studied both in university and now work on making healthcare software during the day, then write/read/draw/paint/dance in my evenings. My global wanderings, my education, and the fact that my appetite for media could be described as ‘voracious’ means my frame of reference is pretty varied. It’s hard to say that I have a favourite music genre, rather I am always seeking sounds that convey a sense earnestness an honesty.
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