Free Online Radio Station Shares the Love of Kimbra

Oh, KEXP Radio, how we love you. So much music, so many performances, so many videos uploaded and handed to us internet surfers on a silver platter to explore and soak in the incredibly vast world of music. Although already broken out on the scene, Kimbra will be our focus for today’s music and performance review.

The New Zealand born musician, Kimbra (Lee Dawson), is known best for her chart topping collaboration on “Somebody That I Used To Know” with Gotye. Previous to the release of the worldwide hit, Kimbra had recorded many singles of her own along with a full length studio album, Vows, which was released in 2011, and later re-released (Vows Remixes) in 2012.

Her performance for KEXP consists of three songs: “Two-way Street”, “Withdraw”, and Nina Simone’s “Plain Gold Ring”. She provided the lead vocals of the performance with a male background singer who also provided piano melodies for the first two songs. The last song, “Plain Gold Ring” was accompanied by percussion and guitar, and is virtually unrecognizable compared with the original Nina Simone version of the song. Kimbra’s unique sound relies heavily on the use of live looping equipment for her vocals, heard most prominently when she harmonized with her recorded self.

Kimbra has said in an interview with Stated Magazine that she is inspired by ”music that touches me emotionally but also surprises me on a musical level”. Some of the musicians she has referenced include Jeff Buckley, Rufus Wainwright, and Bj√∂rk. Kimbra also states in the interview with KEXP that she is “cinematic in the way (she) writes”, trying to build within the song an introduction, some tension, and a climax and resolve. She demonstrates this on the opening song of her performance, “Two-way Street” which opens with one strong tension heavy note.

Kimbra’s way of approaching music creates an interesting performance, her limited accompaniment and use of technology is rare for her chosen genre of Jazz. From an audience perspective, I wish there had been more variety to the three songs she performed, as no one song stuck out to me.

Her sound is reminiscent of the late Amy Winehouse’s. Anyone who enjoys cabaret style Jazz will probably enjoy the musical stylings of Kimbra.

KEXP Radio Performance Review
Artist – Kimbra
Recorded – September 26, 2012