Week 378: “Mantissa” by Kin Klave

My neighbourhood used to have a large number of corner stores.

I used them primarily as a source of hockey cards and cheap candy, but they actually served another important purpose: when local laws kept department and grocery stores closed on Sundays, the corner store was an indispensable resource for milk, cigarettes, shaving cream, and all kinds of other minor household necessities.

The legalization of Sunday shopping, along with many other forces (gentrification, rising rents, Wal-Mart, etc.) has meant that many corner stores have closed. There are still a few out there, and on a recent visit I was happy to see that they still stock cheap candy. But even the ones that have closed haven’t exactly disappeared: some have been converted for residential use.

The birthmarks are still visible, though. The front door is often kitty-corner to the intersection, and flush to the sidewalk where usually there would be a five-step front staircase. They often have floor-to ceiling windows on the main floor; former displays where this week’s estimated lottery winnings were once shown. I love the way these houses’ former lives as convenience stores can be covered, but not quite hidden.

Musicians who have diverse musical backgrounds can sometimes have hidden architectural signatures in their music, and Britain’s Kin Klave certainly qualifies.

He started out as a death metal drummer, then had a stint touring with a Grammy award-winning country guitarist. His 2016 album Volare falls somewhere in the Venn diagram of the electronic/hip-hop genres. But close listening reveals myriad influences coming together.

The EP makes for an eclectic half-hour. Like a good convenience store, it’s got a bit of everything. This track is my favourite.

What makes this a beautiful song:

1. The percussion has a persistent confidence that implies hip-hop.

2. The keyboard has a lazy fluidity that hints at jazz.

3. The strings have a heart-felt sentimentality that suggests soul.

Recommended listening activity:

Revisiting the site of your first job.

Buy it here.