- As an 18 year-old, Dorset's Kai Whiston is a true digital native—home computers and the internet were accessible before he was born. By the time he was 12 and teaching himself production—online, of course—digital audio software was incredibly powerful and versatile. Encouraged by his hometown friend IGLOOGHOST, he self-released an album at 16, and put out an EP on the Brainfeeder affiliate PBDY's TAR label a year later.
As you might expect from someone his age, Whiston's music embraces post-internet aesthetics: scattershot sounds plucked from a spectrum of references, altered and placed in collage with a digital sheen. And while that can mean there's a lot going on—"Vein Cloak" alone has dulcimer strings, fractured vocals, thunder-like bass and assorted percussion—Whiston keeps an overarching melody and groove. Perhaps that's how he can make tracks with enough space for an MC, in this case London's BUCHANAN on the chunky cloud rap number "Icarus."
Given his ties with the Los Angeles beats scene, it's no surprise there's a hip-hop flavor to Whiston's loping beats. But where that scene can feel noodly, his playfulness (the EP's title is a play on the name of a famous children's toy manufacturer) feels light. And while the music shares traits—the pitched-up vocals of "Den" and the sleeve by artist Sam Rolfes—with PC Music, there's no trace of irony. Whiston most recalls Arca, whose early releases were essentially mutated hip-hop. But unlike the Venezuelan artist, Whiston is still, for now, tied to the club.
02. Vein Cloak
04. Throat Behaviour
05. Icarus feat. BUCHANAN