FIGHTING KITES Fighting Kites
- 2005 = Two. 2008 = Three. 2009 = Four. 2012 = Gone.
They were Fighting Kites. And here is the album they left us.
Once upon a time, there were two Fighting Kites. First spotted in the nearly empty back room of a dodgy North London pub, and then, for one evening, playing live in Los Angeles. Fiddling with pedals, swapping instruments, playing their drums at the same time, making melodies that looped around each other, juddered and fuzzed.
Then there were three. A bass came along that took things somewhere else. Up, down, this way, that. Another line weaving in, weaving out, quickly taking root from first fret to the last.
Then came four. A tiny keyboard played with a drumstick, an extra guitar, the last bit of facial hair required.
One, two, three, four. Here. Were. Fighting. Kites.
- After everything clicked, then came the Appalachian dulcimer, the Japanese flute, the harmonium, the thumb piano, the saxophone. After that, the unravelling time signatures, the strange, lurching rhythms. But the music Fighting Kites made together wasn't impenetrable. It was bright. Light. Infectious. You could hear a pop sensibility in it – a sparkle, but also an attack. This was minimalism with heart, with a spine, with a pulse. This music was less post-rock, and more post-Shadows.
- 2009 brought a short European tour (one gig, in Belgium), and their first band member injury (one broken shoulder, also in Belgium). It also brought their first release, The Vlaams Tapes, based around home recordings and live improvisations (limited to 50 copies, with other people’s holiday snaps, picked up at car boot sales, on the front). In 2010, Fighting Kites started venturing out more. They played shows – with Nisennenmondai, Shield Your Eyes, Male Bonding, Nitkowski – then they turned in. They made their album at Shiftworks in Manor House, over a year of Tuesday evenings. They brought in a trumpet, a violin, several off-licences of Belgian beer.
- And in 2011, things started to move. As their album was mixed, they released a split EP with Broken Shoulder (the solo project of the band member that broke it), and a Christmas song with Benjamin Shaw (with Julie Andrews' face on the front). Gideon Coe championed Fighting Kites' “rather delightful” music on 6Music, playing several tracks from the split. Right Where You Are Sitting Now called their music “post-rock in the good way, the way that made me buy every single Tortoise album...instrumental, melodic and pleasantly sun-drenched". ReAutomation said they made a “glorious racket”.
Then even made three pop videos: featuring Luke's goldfish, a mountain, and The Shadows. They hoped Hank Marvin wouldn't mind.
And then in 2012, their debut album ready, they broke up. Neil is set for Japan, Luke for India and Iona. Daniel and David for something brand new. They played for the last time in January in the back room of a dodgy North London pub – full of beer, and this time packed shoulder to unbroken shoulder. They made a glorious racket.
Fighting Kites were Neil Debnam, Daniel Fordham, Luke Johnson and David Stewart. Thank you for listening.
Whiskey Sheen by Smother Party
Whiskey Sheen - Smother Party
Titus by Smother Party
Titus - Smother Party
Bowling Alone by Fighting Kites
Bowling Alone - Fighting Kites
Roast by Fighting Kites
Roast - Fighting Kites