Thursday, May 29th, 2014

John Walt – Kemo Walk

Going harder than winter in Chicago…


Daniel Montesinos-Donaghy: Some words typed down while listening to “Kemo Walk”: aquatic mollywater bop slow-motion beautiful loss tension Boards of Canada Bop of Canada play this for hours it’s a shame for your loss dipped my head in a foxhole Matmos makes rap beats now may this never end.

David Turner: John Walt’s “Kemo Walk” is a very blunted take on Chicago’s usually hyperactive Bop music. Not a bad direction to take the style, but maybe it is the slowed-up melody of “Drop That Nae Nae” that makes this not quite as memorable as Sikko Mob’s “Fiesta” or DLow’s “DLow Shuffle.” 

Crystal Leww: The mixing on this is horrendous, but that’s to be expected from a mixtape track that’s been forced into the role of single. John Walt sort of just glides over this beat without engaging in it, but that’s also to be expected given that this is just grabbed, sloppily, from “Drop That Nae Nae.” The most surprising part of “Kemo Walk” is that it’s not a bop track at all despite ripping the name from Chicago’s Bop King (I mean, you can force the issue, as they do in the video), but rather just some Autotuned flurries over the now canonized Nae Nae beat. A more valiant effort and better introduction to Walt on something smooth would be “Touchdown,” featuring the wonderful Noname Gypsy and produced by his favorite producer Saba, and a better introduction to bop would be DJ Moondawg’s tape. “Kemo Walk” should have remained an interesting experiment in the studio.

Anthony Easton: As slight and as decorative as plastic grass, like that stuff you get in take-out sushi. 

Alfred Soto: Melancholy mushmouth, with aqueous synths and “Bitch, you’re super sorry” sung affectionately.

Mallory O’Donnell: “Kemo Walk” is pure Blade Runner futurism, musically, lyrically and sexually — gritty, dystopian and slightly uncertain. Definitely amoral. It’s also DJ Screw and Ron Hardy, Eazy-E and Blowfly, Redd Foxx and DJ Assault. How much you can look past lyrics like that one lyric or that other one in favor of “run shit/like forest” and “order soup or salad” really depends on how you slice them — bizarre junk poetry taunts or just more classic misogyny? — and what you slice them with; that knife is really, really sharp.

Patrick St. Michel: If The Knife circa Silent Shout offered up the soundtrack for a could-be dance craze, they’d end up with “Kemo Walk.” It sounds like it’s frosted over, the music seemingly moving at half speed save for the drilling percussion. John Walt sounds like he’s rapping through a Chicago snowstorm, his voice obscured but still coming through just enough. It’s chilly, but what makes “Kemo Walk” great is that this iced-over sound still feeds into a totally joyful number, one anchored by the glorious fuck-off taunt “it’s a shame for your loss.”

Brad Shoup: The track, small as it is, feels a bit back-heavy, as Walt barrels through that gorgeous goopiness straight to the abrupt end, picking at the same slight melody. Still, a marriage of Future and Arthur Russell is worth a bunch of spins.

Megan Harrington: That lazy, slow drill delivery is too literal when combined with dreamy, spacey, cloud production. “Kemo Walk” is no handholds, all ether. 

David Lee:Running“‘s atmosphere let loose over the cold waters of Lake Michigan in the winter. Which makes for a song of icy vapors that nevertheless carry with them a vague danceability. John Walt’s pacing, as giddy and loose as the regional dance phenom anchoring this song, helps in that regard. But then that’s him being used as an instrument — or woozy metronome — in the able hands of DJ Damnage, and not as a distinct human presence.

Scott Mildenhall: It’s for the best this was kept as short as it is, because any longer and it would have begun to drag. What becomes hypnotic at two minutes — the disinterested braggadocio of the hook and Walt’s voice beginning to seem to just meld into the beat — can get soporific at three, or four, or five.

Katherine St Asaph: Wildly poor-context comparison time: Autotune scatters over these slippery-ice synths — ones parts that aren’t “Drop That Nae Nae,” that is — remind me of Poliça. It’s a cool idea, and not much more than that.

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