One side of King Krule/Archy Marshall’s many-faceted musical personality has always been his effortlessly cool jazzbo steez (other sides include angry punk youth, and depressive trip-hopper). The whole beatnik-born-too-late thing first popped up on 2013’s 6 Feet Beneath the Moon, where blue-hued jazz textures began popping up in his avant-singer-songwriter compositions. Now, in some of the first music he’s released under the King Krule moniker since then, they’re back.
Presaged by some mysterious posters sent to fans and a teaser video, new track “Czech One” arrives today via a Frank Lebon-directed video. It’ll be included on a 7” set to be released on September 13th via True Panther/XL, alongside another new track entitled “Dum Surfer.”
At first a hyper-minimal conversation between a smoky keyboard, some haunting backing vocals, and Marshall’s borderline spoken word baritone delivery, “Czech One” ever so slowly picks up as a subtle beat builds, the keyboard takes off on a solo, and finally, a glorious saxophone joins the mix. Like most everything that Marshall does, the song suggests almost preposterous levels of maturity, patience, and cool, gliding along in a formless haze that never fully comes into focus. It’s the latest in a long trajectory of King Krule songs that defy both expectation and convention.
Lebon’s video is, if anything, even more adventurous and spellbinding. In it, Marshall is shown walking on city streets and flying on a nighttime international flight, but the boundaries between those two scenes are much more fluid than you’d expect. Marshall’s feet leave the ground, and suddenly he’s on the plane; he kicks out the plane’s window, and he’s back on the street. The whole effect is dreamlike and disorienting, but as always, Marshall plays it off with dispassionate charisma.