Steeped in hushed grandeur, the music of Kauri is borne of soul-touching moments and spun into atmospheric soundscapes. Based out of Woodward, OK, the band has been impressively teasing its forthcoming debut album for months with well-established social media platforms, a new website, behind-the-scenes stories, and two lead singles.
“Empty Skies” is the latest track to debut from the upcoming full-length album, titled As a Creature of Temperature. Check it out below in this Cellar Door Music Group exclusive first listen.
Lush arrangements and subdued, hypnotic rhythms make “Empty Skies” the most ear-catching release from Kauri yet, especially as it transitions from its more intimate beginning.
Breathy, thoughtfully layered vocals mirror soft piano open the track as arpeggiated guitar picking adds a woodsy undercurrent to an otherwise soft, cloudy expanse of songwriting. The simple melody channeled through vocal octaves and harmonies recalls the subtleties of new age music or classical pieces for church choir.
This evolves at about the two-minute mark, though, as a shamisen-like instrumental performance carries the song into a higher stratum. Here, a bolder arrangement uses strings to fill the atmosphere to the brim and percussion to channel a sensation of forward movement. Vocals again are expertly arranged, even as lyrical and nonlyrical parts are lain across one another.
As with many of Kauri’s musings, the lyrics are fairly abstract but poetic. “Empty Skies” sets inner thoughts against bare nature imagery. Key lines “It’s not all that it seems clearly” and “If it’s me you’re looking for, I’ve long gone by / I’ve seen once into the empty skies” paint a mindset of disillusionment. Rather than sulk in it, however, Kauri is inclined to carry on toward a better truth. The momentum of the music goes a long way in reflecting this as the song’s central refrain repeats in determination.
On “Empty Skies”, Kauri manages to create music that is spacious yet rich in arrangement, distant but still somehow able to creep under the skin. Although there is a certain chill to “Empty Skies”, it’s one that pairs well with a warm blanket or fire-heated cabin. It’s an interesting balance that doesn’t always carry to other songs to date from the band, but for this one elevated span of five minutes, it’s an intoxicating experience that holds much promise for the upcoming debut album.
As a Creature of Temperature will be released in three weeks on Friday, February 23rd. The album will celebrated with two release shows. One in Woodward occurs on the day of release, with another in Ada, OK, on the following day, February 24th.
Preorders for vinyl and CD are available now at the official Kauri website.
This article was originally written for Cellar Door Music Group (cellardoormusicgroup.com). It is archived here with the publisher’s permission.
aka Jarvix, the Chief Executive Weirdo of Make Oklahoma Weirder. His out-of-the-box music coverage has been published by the Oklahoma Gazette, KOSU, and The Oklahoman among others. He also makes DIY music as a solo multi-instrumentalist live looper in his spare time.