Terrascope Review of "The Hand"
KABLE - THE HAND
Although I knew that this disc has been hanging around in the review box for longer than it should, it still came as a surprise to discover it was released in September 2011; surely it hasn't been hanging around quite that long, or has it. Anyway, however long it has been here it is long overdue a review and I can only apologise to Kay Bonya for the long delay. [Phil adds: probably my fault for sitting on this excellent disc by my old friend Kay for way too long - sorry!]
Opening with the Banjo led “Woopsy”, a short but sweet ditty that takes you gently into the slightly off kilter world of Kable, this album has a slowly disintegrating nature, the almost folk-funk of “Revelation Sense” quickly eclipsed by the psych pop electro goodness of “Think Before You Speak”, a beautifully controlled song that seems on the edge of collapse but manages to hold on. Next up, the soft beauty of “Unlikely” contains some wonderful guitar playing that add gallons of character to a fine instrumental piece, the mood changed by the arrival of “Nobody Likes a Wise Guy” which sounds like Danielle Dax to these ears and is one of my favourites on the album.
With seriously distorted vocals, “Little Birdy” pushes further into strangeness, the rattling percussion and crying guitar adding to the atmosphere before “The Setup” brings thing back with more gorgeous flowing guitar and a great understated bass line.
After the country stomp of “Watermelon Hound” sticks in your brain with its easy refrain thing go odd again, in a good way, as “Here Comes Trouble” worms its way into your head (move over watermelon hound), sounding like Laurie Anderson on a lo-fi acid trip, excellent stuff and another contender for favourite song on the album.
So here we are, halfway through the disc and still enchanted, the songs being vibrant, playful, skilfully constructed and memorable, all of which are evident on “Blahbitty Blah”, a sort of cosmic jam, all echoes and strangeness, anchored down with a simple tribal rhythm taking the album in yet another direction without the listener being aware of the change until it is happening, with “Will You Be With Me” exploring deep space, a drone guitar and voice led track that compels you to listen, the introduction of bass and drums suddenly elevating the song to yet another level, giving it a Velvets feel.
After the brief interlude of “This and That”, which could be a coda for the last track, “Gathering Wool” does a U-turn with its punk guitar and electronic drums bringing you back to reality, or at least the Kable version, with its energy and passion. Similar in feel although more psychedelic and dark, “There's No Problem Here” is slow and soaked in paranoia, whilst “Give It A Push” is percussion led weirdness of the highest order with Danielle Dax brought to mind again. To end it all, “Walk It Off” is the soundtrack to a cult desert road movie that ends in small town tension and violence, some great guitar drifting over shimmering backing creating atmosphere by the bucket load, before finally melting completely.
For some reason Kable seem to have slipped under my radar for many years, on this showing I need to go out and explore further and see what other gems I can uncover. (Simon Lewis)
Gew Gaw Fanzine Review of "The Hand"
The fifth album by the Texans Kable bears the simple title The Hand. Kable are masterminded by Kay Bonya, who writes the music, produces, creates the cover art and plays a cartload of instruments, among other things. Her music is sweet, poppy, psychedelic, electronic, with excellent banjo moments; "Will You Be With Me?" is a schizo-masterpiece, "Nobody Likes a Wise Guy" evokes the Silver Apples and the sonic caramel that is "Woopsy" is a fabulous pop song drenched in sunniness. Of particular note, also, are "Unlikely", "Think Before You Speak" and "The Setup", this latter driven by psychedelic guitars carrying all the craziness of Mad River, the mood of Mooseheart Faith and the deviant tendencies of Bongwater.It can thus be safely assumed that the entire album is quite formidable and hearing it can only be good for you, or anyone for that matter!
Free City Media review of "Boar of the Forest"
Review by Nick Bensen.
KABLE - Boar Of The Forest (Fleece)
Kay Bonya has been making music under the band name Kable for more than a decade. Kable's unique sound is built on the interplay of guitar, mandolin, banjo, keyboards, percussion and various instruments devised by Kay herself. The release of Boar Of The Forest comes after a wait of five years since Kable's previous album 3. The new CD picks up more or less where the last one left off, though the arrangements seem a little more densely layered and there are more electronic elements added to Kable's trademark Texas country-folk/psychedelic/experimental style.
Boar Of The Forest is a sprawling hour-long cycle of songs, starting off at full strength with the heavy riffing of "You Can Come Here". The angular funk/punk rock of "Beneath The Sea" reminds me of early Gang Of Four, but the effect is taken in a different direction by Kay Bonya's smooth vocals. "It's Your Lot" starts with some lovely melodic tape reverse and then grows into an easy-stumming bluegrass song intertwined with a meandering psychedelic tangent. "Who Dat" and "The Old Band" have an avant-garde feeling, the latter recalling Laurie Anderson. "What's It Like?" has a huge spectacular electric guitar sound that falls somewhere between Steve Hillage and Thurston Moore. "Just A Domino" (which also appears on Free City's Further Adventures… CD) is a frantic blast of hypnotic electronica. "Spill It Out" has a similar feeling but also adds a heavy minor-key guitar and a weird sort of synth-scratching break. Alien rhythms, disembodied vocals and over-distorted instruments make "Mr. Smelcum's House" downright scary. "Not At Home In This World" provides a breather with a light acoustic arrangement, though the mood stays somber. "Sheltering Arms" features an unusual but inspired combination of keyboard atmospherics and banjo soloing. Another song with an especially interesting arrangement is "The Shed", in which an e-bow guitar plays against banjo picking while the bass carries the melody. "Ain't No Way" is a more traditional folk song while "Hello Fall" sounds like a robotic jamboree. "Bad Day" and "Skylow" are heavy rockers with nice ethereal harmonies. The closing piece, "Transmission", is a meditation of gentle jazz guitar floating over a bed of electronic tones.
Kable's particular impact comes from Kay Bonya's ability to combine highly original vivid musical settings with honestly conveyed emotion. Boar Of The Forest is a satisfying next step, full of new ideas and growth of artistic expression. Go to www.kablekaybonya.com and www.soundexchangehouston.com. Also see Free City's Kable interview page.
Broken Face review of "Boar of the Forest"
In some ways I guess I have this strange love and hate relationship to Texas, but when it comes to Texan music with a certain psychedelic flavor there’s nothing but love. That’s very much the case for Houstonite Kay Bonya a k a Kable who is back with her fourth album for the Fleece imprint. It’s been five years since we last heard from Bonya which is a shame given what she presents on Boar of the Forest. It continues along a similar reckless folk-psych-indie rock-noise trajectory as Tardy All the Time, Chlorophyll and 3 but here she takes things even deeper down those psychedelicised waters. In most cases there is a rough skeleton of a folk song that works as some sort of sonic platform, but to different degrees these structures are buried in fuzzy guitars, Texan noise and psychedelic production. Beautiful and primitive outsider music created from an armory of guitars, banjo, mandolin, keys, percussion and all sorts of homemade instrumentation. Don’t let us wait this long next time, ok?
Broken Face review of Kable "3"
"It's been three years since we last heard from Houstonite Kay Bonya a.k.a. Kable, but the comeback (not that she's been missing in action in the first place) proves to be as worthwhile as its two predecessors. On "3" Bonya continues along the same reckless folk-psych trajectory as on "Tardy All The Time" and "Chlorophyll," but here she takes things to an even deeper (or more extreme) level. There are skeletons of folk songs that in most of the tracks work as some sort of platform, but to different degrees these structures are buried in psychedelic instrumentation and production."Storeo" is a particularly enjoyable example with acoustic instruments placed against a backdrop of heavily distorted guitars. Then "Regret" delivers wildly orbiting, fuzzy guitars ornamented with slow mournful vocals expressing a strong sense of sorrow and overcome that characterizes the whole album. "Consternation" gives us more music in a similar mood but in a completely different fashion as organically flowing synth takes over the show. Another stunner is the deceptively intricate "Spin The Globe" where Bonya merges cavernous dripping synth sounds with glorious psych guitar. But there are plenty of other goodies as well, like the throb rock buzz of "Over There," the beautiful sadness of the relatively straightforward folk song "Things Only Things" and the hypnotic instrumental closer "1918." As its meandering guitar lines and distinctive bass meet with distant violin scrape it strikes me how strong the feeling of isolation is within the album's 57 minutes but not only that, I realize that this is Kable's best one yet and as a result something you need."- Mats Gustafsson
Dream Magazine review of "Tardy All the Time"
"This one-woman band is Kay Bonya of Houston, Texas playing a multitude of instruments and sounds, while she sings these eerily woozy songs that alternate between stoney floating reveries and compulsively weird Residential mutations. Plucked and strummed on old banjo, guitar organics as well as tipsy staggering electronic primitive chug-folk constructions. Deeply otherworldly psychedelic folk music, that has a tendancy to drift into an inner zone of slightly menacing twists and turns. A dark funhouse ride through the inner recesses of Kay's mind and musicality. The closest sonic kin is probably T.F.U.L. 282, both merging the folk-instrumental with the experimentalism of the psychedelicised. Kay also did the wild artwork that covers this release." - Dream Magazine
Deep Water Acres review of "Chlorophyll'
The debut release by Kable called Chlorophyll (on the Fleece label) crams 17 gloriously messed-up song-things into 42 minutes, and wraps it in the finest magic-marker brain-purge art-spew I've ever had the confusion to witness. Every once in a while, something needs to come along that just totally blows out the pipes, cleans and purges the system with terminal efficiency, aggressively recontextualizes your perceptions: folks, allow me to present the least lucid acid-drenched debut since perhaps the first Red Crayola album. None of the short songs are alike in any noticeable way, but all of them are instantly recognizable by the indelible stamp of an obsessively warped personality (all supposedly the work of a single individual, one Kay Bonya). This stuff is even more violently in-your-melting-face messed-up than the early Buttholes, without the punk gratuitousness and with a much wider textural bandwidth. Among other things, you got your echoey-SunRa percussion, you got strummy near-singalongs, you got huge exploding blobs of multicolored toxic goo, you got vicious backward-tape loops that make me stop breathing, creepy multi-speed distorted voices, fingerpicking banjo, cheesy organ, chanting . . . it's totally . . . um . . . everything, like . . . there, over by the . . . wait, I can't . . . everything treated, distorted, fun-house mirrored into an infinite bad trip, arms reaching for you out of your own forehead, faces talking from the wallpaper, all your friends turning slowly into lizards. Any open-minded fan of things truly consciousness-altered needs to hear this. Geez, maybe I need to move south . . . (KM)