Aotearoa-based duo and best friends Jess Penson and Carly Gill aka Kédu Carlö have released their debut album 'Space Girl Finds Cash', on EMK. Using a highly collaborative approach when writing, they each craft their expertise into every track, generating the symbiosis of their qualities making Kédu Carlö.
Opening up the LP and setting the tone for what is to come, 'Space Girl Finds Cash' is the first song that they created for the album, of which the majority was worked on in isolation during a lockdown in 2021. Expect bubbling synths and their signature playful lyrics. 'Sabi Sabi' was inspired by the lyrics ``na, you sabi oh, sabi sabi”, Nigerian slang for “you’re a know it all', a nickname Jess’s mum coined for her whilst growing up, “so when we were in the mood to write a dis track, it felt like the perfect lyrics”.
Up next is 'Shotgun Baby' which references 90’s raves with gameboy synths, driving basslines, punchy snares and a 4-on-floor kick. It’s a prime example of their synergy as Carly comments “I remember Jess saying to me when we finished the song that she never thought it was going to end up sounding so huge, but I kinda love that. It shows how collaborative our process is and that our sound is an organic amalgamation of our two very different minds. It reminds me of the power that each of us hold and the magic that happens when our forces join”.
The combination of the energetic and crunchy acid, sassy vocals and percussion provides a fiery energy to 'Don’t Want No Drama' that you can’t help but be encompassed by. With influences of alt-pop and a touch of NZ and AUS regional flavour. Endless offers a switch up in mood as the bright synths and Jess’s spacious vocals suck you into a state of calm then thrust you into expansive heart-opening moments.
Vocals play a key part in 'U Need Me' as we hear Jess’s velvety tones convey the intense feeling of being on the brink of a relationship, and the struggle to remain in control of the situation. The result is a dance-worthy electronic pop anthem with a driving bassline. 'Resurrection' is a labour of love for Carly as she pays homage to a guy she was seeing at the time, “the lead vocal monologue keeps the track in an introspective space as the character reflects on their desire for more affection from the person they yearn for, and their unwillingness to give up on the pursuit “I will resurrect him, his affection”.
'Sleigh' is one of the fastest tracks the duo produced as the bulk of it was created in less than a day, and most of the session was spent shaping different synth sounds, and creating a lush synth bed that felt deep and nostalgic. 'Wai' closes the album and is the most soulful and rhythmically complex song on the album, and their personal favourite. This song is for the musicians amongst their audience. With the polyrhythmic drums, warm acoustic instrumentation and soaring james-blake-esque synth, there's a feeling of delightful mystery and musicality throughout.
Since their debut EP 'Let’s Get To It' in 2021, Kédu Carlö have had a steady flow of releases, toured globally, featured on regional lineups from Newtown Festival to Rhythm & Vines, opened for acts such as Josh Butler, and headlined shows across New Zealand. Their production skills are at the core of what they put out, and most recently they teamed up with Ableton Live and Five AM Studios to offer free workshops for music creators.
Kédu Carlö’s unique sound is influenced by their musical backgrounds - Jess as a singer and keyboardist and Carly as a drummer. Their use of intricate percussion, melodic experimentation and irreverent lyricism defines their distinctive sound. As performing artists they can be found with an array of musical equipment, and a constantly evolving live set-up allowing them to translate and demonstrate their musicianship in fresh and creative ways with every show. From Pioneer DJ controllers to synthesizers, drum machines to live percussion they continue to carve out their unique sound citing influences from Chicago house, acid, techno, electro and breaks.
Check out all things Kédu Carlö below:
Photo credit: Jerome Warburton