Kingdom Shore - ...and all the dogs to shark

BB001 - 12" Long Playing Record, and CD
Released in April 2007






LP is a 210gram pressing from a Metal Master
LP and CD in hand packaged, locally printed materials.

Purchase the release here.

From a restless quiet comes music written and recorded with no will save for a clear and simple expression of a long-haunting struggle to share the substantive too great for any one heart, to resist inheriting numbness and fear from the malevolent and disassociate, to give back what little i have received that is good, to draw to the hearth those who know that the light in this world is not its final ash, and that if you believed in anything, you could not kill another.

This is not a bid for relevance. This is not modern. This is not chamber music. Museums are for education, and active forgetting, and are not prisons for the children we are and are ours. It is too soon to relegate our goals to incompleteness. There is so much left to do. Pick up a book, a pencil, a brush, a hammer, a chisel. Despair young and never look back. Bend closer friends. Let us go.


Music for four Violins, four Violas, and two Cellos.

Music and Mixing by Mark Molnar.
Mixing and Mastering by Harris Newman at Grey Market Mastering.

Track Listing

side Here My Hand
1. Stray Bullets Singing "It's now what you say, but who you give it to"
2. Fire knows no one house; fire knows no one woman or man

side Take A Stand
3. ..and all the dogs to shark
4. Little birdie, little birdie, why do you sing your song? Such a short time to be here, and a long time to be gone

Duration: 39 Minutes




Kingdom Shore - ...and all the dogs to shark
From The Wire by Barry Witherden

Maniacal music which sounds like it's improvised but is apparently full scored for four violins, two violas, and two cellos, and played by one Mark Molnar, thanks to the miracle of overdubbing. The music of Molnar and Kingdom shore is new to me, but I shall certainly seek out more. Stradivarius, Amati and the craftsmen of Cremona are probably spinning in their graves fast enough to cause a friction fire. The packaging is a work of art, though it's a bugger to get the disc back into. Never mind: you'll probably be happy to leave it in the player.


Kingdom Shore - ...and all the dogs to shark
From Mapsadaisical by Scott McMillan

The contents of this elaborate blood red package has sat within or on top of my CD player for the last month or so. I don’t think Kingdom Shore would mind me saying this: it isn’t the most instantly accessible of records. However, that fact has kept going back to it like a dog to a particularly chewy bone. Or a shark to a boat containing a particularly chewy Roy Schneider.

…And All The Dogs To Shark is possibly the most sui generis thing I’ve been sent this year. It features just four violins, but it is unlike any string quartet record I’ve heard. Imagine if Steve Reich had spent his formative years as a member of Fugazi, spending his spare time watching horror movies. An intriguing image, but one that barely comes close. The track titles are maddening post rock-ish non sequiturs, like “Stray Bullets Singing “It’s Not What You Say But Who You Give It To””, or the title track “…And All The Dogs To Shark”. Strings lurch from squealing and moaning and chattering and chirping, to dizzyingly interlocked quasi-math-rock rhythms, via interludes of heavily-pointed silence.

Initially I found myself floundering, perplexed; like the first time I listened to Captain Beefheart’s Trout Mask Replica, Scott Walker’s The Drift or John Coltrane’s Ascension. This is a startling record that makes no concessions to whatever language you are conversant in, requiring you to engage with a manifesto impassionedly shouted in a most unfamiliar of dialects.

I’ve been chewing on this elaborate blood red item for weeks, and have still only made the slightest indentation in the surface. I’m enjoying the taste though. …And All The Dogs To Shark is available now from Black Bough.


Kingdom Shore - ...and all the dogs to shark
Rating 8/10 from Experimusic

Brought to us courtesy of the envelop-pushing and fiercely independent Black Bough records, KingdomShore is the Canadian labels first release and is hopefully the first of many high quality, non-conformist works to be thrust upon the public. Sounding akin to a hard-fought wrangle between Weasel Walter and Krzysztof Pendericki, ‘…..and all the dogs to shark’ is an ode to sonic rapture and mischief for strings. Setting brutalized, battle-ready anti-melodies within expanses of deeply textured and heart-wrenching sonic-reflection, KingdomShore expertly encapsulate the raw and emotional resonance of varying string-types into a fiercely brooding and frequently erupting body of sound.

The work of one individual, Mark Molnar utilises the collective sound of four violins, two violas and two cellos, to cut across the degenerative boundaries of classical pantomimes in a rejection of the canonized and nostalgic restrictions of chamber music. Throughout the four pieces, deeply textured troughs of icy ambience detonate without warning into jagged plateau’s of hellish cacophony as erratic strings utilising both sides of the bass/treble spectrum dart menacingly across the soundstage. Through its clustered and thought-provoking arrangements, the sound does its utmost to honor the hard-fought tradition of punk rock and leftfield music at every twist, an approach that makes for a cleaner and more approachable end-product. Delicate, atmosphere-laden stretches of ambience, like the poignant, fog-horn ambience eluded to in the title track ‘….and all the dogs to shark’, act as a compounding gel- making for a far more coherent and theatrical listen as the fleeting moments of beauty serve to amplify and contextualize these electrifying moments of nose-bleed dissonance. The opener ‘Stray Bullets Singing’ proves to contain the most tangible evidence of Molnar’s leftfield punk-rock dynamic. Being a frenzied melting pot of harsh scraping strings, plump melodic blisters, pummeling chords and underlying textural beauty, the whole piece swells, contracts and mutates with unnerving passion and exquisite precision.

Too raw and in-your-face to be classed as cinematic, it nevertheless stirs up rousing theatrics that invoke terrifying cinemascope dream-sequences in one’s mind. Its no-holds barred, post-apocalyptic sonic narrative comes together in a cogent yet highly serrated fashion thanks in part to the non-grating production work and the punk inspired arrangements. Available in hand packaged thread-sealed slip sleeved CD, and heavyweight 180gram Vinyl, the glorious packaging adds to the overall experience. Loweth, all sonic-warriors are urged to engage in cerebral warfare with one KingdomShore. (KS)


Kingdom Shore - ...and all the dogs to shark
Rating: 87%
Combined Rating: 83%
From Coke Machine Glow by Conrad Amenta

For a music critic, to read a Lester Bangs anthology is the equivalent of today’s indie rock bands casting new wave in a perpetual state of novelty—even if Bang’s particularly personal brand of gonzo disassembly is as informative of modern music criticism as new wave is of modern indie rock. Granted, in Bangs’ ’60s and ’70s there seemed to be more to say about counterculture, if only by virtue of the fact that it was more fashionable or immediate to say it, than today, when protest has been about as thoroughly subsumed and branded into the mainstream and commercial as anything else. One of Bangs’ many axes to grind, however, still holds as true today as it once did: regardless of the political climate, there is dissension first and then there’s its copycats; what is particularly abhorrent about the latter is that to copy is to become the antithesis of the former. Like Invasion of the Bodysnatchers with market forces, rebellion is appropriated and emptied when it’s given a lackluster doppelganger.

Bangs, if not his many copycat critics, is still important for constantly harping on this. In his ongoing privileging of the avant—the Captain Beefhearts and Lou Reeds and Nicos—at the expense of the more comforting or nihilistic of songwriting mores—the Aerosmiths and Springsteens and Framptons. A paradigm of formal dissidence was made reference to, divined even, at a time when genuine political gesture was being diluted by both the cynicism of punk and the triumphalism of stadium schlock. There’s an urgency to the avant garde that is hard to deny in the face of what we now understand to be historical defeatism. Events too grand to hope to effect were met with the spit and terror of real vitriol; the Bangses, the Hunter S. Thompsonses, were as important to the political consciousness, and the development of the self-aware individual in American art and culture, as the artists they helped to categorize (or who they helped to transcend categories). Near the back of the temple of personality, Bangs has a special alcove reserved with the rest of the cultural critics whose work just might have been the tip of the sword to pierce through to the heart of late-‘70s America’s solipsistic darkness.

Refract that feeling of anger, that frustration at narcissistic stagnancy, by decades. Replace Reagan with Bush, a Regan-lite Bangs could have never imagined in his worst, acid-catalyzed nightmares. Replace the nadir of art-as-nihilism-as-political with shopping-as-culture-as-art. Complexity and melody have become one; values and ambiguity have become one; intelligence and stupidity are one; dissonance in music, in the shuddering, spidery cracks of its noise, is less dissidence than a better portrayal of reality’s information poisoning. Intense alienation segues into catharsis, and Kingdom Shore are welcoming Bangs home into the deep folds of Western culture’s staggering commercial incest.

Music like this is so appropriate for our time; equal parts cinematic and musical, it seems at times like the little plastic discs can barely contain Kingdom Shore’s quaking viscosity. Track listings seem tongue in cheek, album art quaint (though, it should be noted, it’s absolutely beautiful). I listen to it and think of old men shivering in the cold, harsh chaos of new world orders, schema in which the generation just born will, for the first time, grow up and be entirely comfortable with uncertainty and terror. Kingdom Shore is the music one watches the world’s catastrophes to, which doesn’t compete to wrest one’s attention away from so much as compliment and abide by. Finally, here is music as complex, violent, tragic and occasionally beautiful as real life.

Kingdom Shore is the vision of one Mark Molnar, written for four violins in so many layers as to seem random but with purpose fully scripted in its amalgamation of Steve Reich, Stravinsky, John Zorn, Captain Beefheart, Shostakovich, and Fugazi. The aesthetics of classical, avant-rock, and punk are not so much blended as heaved and smashed against each other with invigorating idiosyncrasy, turning to their own internal reason. Track lengths, beginnings, and ends are as seemingly arbitrary as the titles that stand with mannequin impotence beside each track’s towering substance.

A comparison to Godspeed You! Black Emperor would be facile, both for the mutual presence of strings but also because Godspeed’s politics pander in comparison. This is music to challenge, to be sure, but also to grow with. Godspeed can’t help but hold their listeners at arms’ length, constantly asserting difference in a language so clear to understand that it cannot help but sometimes read with all the sincerity of a Che Guevara soda bottle, all while dating themselves and grinding slowly to a halt as they explore the limited dimensions of their formula’s tiny room. Real difference first posits cold, alien resolve in the place of connection, but then makes the listener work to enter its world and understand. Empathy is reciprocal. Unfold the gorgeous packaging, and that recognizable plastic disc is a red herring; Kingdom Shore stand with neither affronted, calculated sub-culturalism as a badge around their arm nor appeasing, commercial readiness. This music is simply different (though not without referents, which is obviously an impossibility) in a way that is lasting, rewarding, and exceptional.

Opener “Stray Bullets Singing ‘It’s not what you say, but who you give it to‘” works through a coda of movements in its first five minutes of greater diversity than most of the self-described indie of scope that you’ll hear this year. Silence is counter-posed to atonal slides, horror-filmed across a continuum of visceral noise before jittering with spidery taps. Johnny Greendwood’s excellent soundtrack to There Will Be Blood touched modestly on some of the techniques and themes alluded to here, but Greenwood’s segments were compartmentalized by filmatic need. By contrast, Kingdom Shore are without leash. An audiophile’s idea of headphone music, entire spectrums of rhythm and melody thrust like jagged skyscraper husks and then disappear as if you’re driving by a post-apocalyptic cityscape. The track conveys real magnitude: height, breadth, the insectine magnified on the side of the monolith, and within mere breaths of one another too.

It’s exhausting and tempting, taunting, even, in how embedded this music’s naturalistic tunefulness is obscured by both texture and sudden change. This isn’t the stuff of purposeful obfuscation, however; the music on ...and all the dogs to shark is, simply put, too complex to accommodate whatever vestiges of thirsty melody vein its multifarious arms. This album will never leave your collection, and it’s possible that, in the years to come, it will contain new albums. But it’s hard to imagine that it will ever sound like it’s compromising.

Boogz, our cherry-faced enthusiast, once proclaimed a certain Radiohead album to be “Important.” I’m a fan of Boogz, if not that particular album, and applaud his gusto. While I do think importance is the kind of thing that’s only really possible to assess after some time and much proselytizing has passed, I will say that I consider this type of music to be (deep breath) Important. And I think Lester Bangs would agree because, ultimately, we’re left with the notion that criticism (at least criticism of Bangs’ variety) and avant-garde music like Kingdom Shore are essentially both moralistic, politically invested, or, at the very least, both of those things by virtue of how alienated they are from the norm. Lyotard once wrote in his “The Postmodern Condition” that the postmodern, like the avant-garde, is a temporary state inhabited before the thing, whether it’s art or idea, is, like everything, invariably absorbed into the mainstream. But each instance of the avant-garde has its moment, its window, in which it can affect ex-stasis: the sublime. This is contentious territory, so I’ll stop short, but you can see what I’m getting at: transcendence is hard done by these days, practically a dirty word. Kingdom Shore might not seek to elevate past context, but they do bang at the walls of context’s boundaries from within, thrashing like a composite animal, and in doing so offer some teasing glimpse of what’s beyond.


Kingdom Shore - ...and all the dogs to shark
From Forest Gospel by Mr. Thistle

Verdict = A literal mind melter.

Like, Whoa! I don’t mean to get all ditsy on y’all but this record is INSANE! As you’ll notice by checking the release date, I’m pretty tardy on this one. In fact, I only heard about it last year (along with everyone else it seems), and even then the information was sparse. Well, I jotted down the band and album name (just like I always do when something peaks my interest) and set out to find more information to pick the record up. Turns out getting a copy of this thing isn’t the easiest thing in the world. In fact, after the album had remained on my list for much longer than the average sitting time I resolved to hunker down and figure out how to order the thing through the labels only US distributor for my birthday. It was kind of a maze going through their website, but alas, I finally have the 180 gram vinyl atop my turntable. So anyway, back to the insanity, it is no wonder that for those who’ve taken notice this debut record by Kingdom Shore is still making waves well after its initial release date in 2007. And all the dogs to shark is doesn’t just take your breath away, it mugs it from you. However, don’t let the violence of that statement fool you, Kingdom Shore isn’t all doom and gloom. In fact, I hear a heavy bit of comedy in these recordings, granted it’s of the blacker-than-black variety; the kind that has you laughing just to keep from crying mostly. From what I’ve gathered the whole project is the vision of one Mark Molnar. This isn’t some bedroom confessional though. Molnar’s genius/madness is manufactured through an arsenal of violins, double-bass and cello that belittle the invention of the electric guitar and punk rock in general. There aren’t really any specific swipes here, but what Kingdom Shore has done with these archaic classical instruments makes the explicit edginess of modern punk and hardcore sound like the music you might hear featured along side The Jonas Brothers (and do to some extent – what an age!). There really is no one like Kingdom Shore either. The most logical parallel I can conjure involves ultra-heavy noise/jazz mega-behemoths, Aufgehoben, but even that comparison requires far too many preconditions. I mean, Kingdom Shore’s instrumentation is fully acoustic for heavens sake! And I’m trying to draw parallels with Aufgehoben? That’s how flustered and utterly fascinated with this album I am. Possibly the most ridiculously tense, flutteringly mad album I have ever heard. I mean, that right there is a statement: ‘ever.’ It is certainly avant-garde, but to noisy to be termed as neo classical and too compositionally intense to be simply marked as noise. And all the dogs shark is just, is just…is just a stroke of horror comedy genius that must be experienced, if only endured once.






























































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































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