Conceptual, experimental folk
Kate Koenig's latest album calls to mind Jimmy Webb's 'The Highwayman' where the narrator talks of several incarnations. 'Etemenanki' allows a similar concept and is told from the perspective of a mythological being named Bʌfdɔg (pronounced “Buff Dog”). Bʌfdɔg is a creature that has always existed, in every person, through all time periods, and is "trapped within this immortal rhythm". Each track is told from either the perspective of Bʌfdɔg, or from an individual Bʌfdɔg has embodied.
There are moments of melancholy along with a world-weary outlook, but also resilience and passion. Koenig cleverly interweaves different musical textures into her music to highlight the Bʌfdɔg's travels through time and cultures. The title track 'Etemenanki' is sung from the perspective of a homeless woman losing her mind in Babylon. The addition of a noirish trumpet is one of many leitmotif's that features in the album, highlighting its congruence.
'Fell to Stone' like much of the album, enjoys layering sounds and textures. These sounds are lightly dusted into the album and are never overworked as the Bʌfdɔg passes through the ages. 'Torn and Flayed' is a more uptempo folk-rock track while 'Oh, How I've Loved You' gives the album's narrator a haunting poetic retrospective.
The album was conceived during the first few weeks of the Covid 19 lockdown and Koenig strives to bring out that same sense of isolation, unity and heading into the unknown. The final track 'Young With Ancient Stories' is a powerful track that resonates with the world we now find ourselves in. Whether we are all Bʌfdɔg's or have reincarnated like The Highwayman, in a post-pandemic world we all have to view the world through a different lens.
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