Week 266: “Illuminate” by The Kite String Tangle and Dustin Tebbutt


I never really enjoyed flying kites. Too much effort for too little reward. But I’m glad other people like flying kites, because seeing one floating in the distance really is the cherry on top of a perfect summer’s day.

There are two types of kite enthusiasts in the world. The next time you see a kite, follow the string to the ground and I guarantee you will see one of two people at the controls:

Kite flyer number one is a kid, approximately 7-10 years old. He (and chances are good it’s a boy) has a smear of ice cream on his cheek, mismatched socks, and probably glasses. The first five minutes of his kite flying will be marked by patient determination. Each time the kite falls to earth, which it will, he will carefully check the integrity of the kite’s structure, untangle the strings, and send it back into the sky. After a few brief seconds of gravity-defying flight, the kite will accelerate towards the ground, sending an unsuspecting dog running for its owner. Soon, the boy will let out an exasperated grunt, wave his fists as if he is trying to throw them off his wrists, kick the kite and run crying to his parents.

Kite flyer number two is an adult who has spent a dedicated, if perhaps lonely, lifetime perfecting the art and science of kite flying. He (and chances are good it will be a man) has a conservative haircut, mismatched socks, and probably glasses. His kite is a masterpiece of engineering. It is controlled from the ground with multiple strings, almost like a reverse marionette. It glides effortlessly on the breeze, and skillfully avoids the nose-diving store-bought kites of the local kids. He will act annoyed when an amateur’s kite gets tangled in his strings, but he’ll be patient, because he remembers the days when his own cheek was smeared with ice cream.

What makes this a beautiful song:

1. I think the instrument that opens the track is a Hang. Whatever it is, it gives the song a wonderful soft pattering foundation.

2. The singer, Dustin Tebbutt, has a soothing voice that floats easily above the instruments like a kite on the wind.

3. The producer, Danny Harley aka The Kite String Tangle, somehow gets the song to build without it ever getting loud. He gradually piles the instruments on top of each other until they’re a wonderful tangle of overdubbed vocals, percussion, guitars and echoing effects.

Recommended listening activity:

Finding the perfect tree to sit under.

Buy it here.