Cousins

by Kim Janssen

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about

Kim Janssen was born in the Netherlands but raised in Asia, spending most of his childhood in Bangkok and Phnom Penh and his teenage years in Kathmandu.

His new record, 'Cousins', is a pop album, swinging in tone from dark to blinding technicolor, with glossy synths, huge orchestral arrangements and Kim's vocal - at times a Bill Callahan-esque croon, at times a soaring falsetto. Dark strings and steel swells surround hushed ballads and bursts of maximalist pop, as Kim threads memories of Loi Krathong nights, earthquake drills and political turbulence into a domestic landscape of front yards, birthday parties and chinese restaurants.

Filled with idiosyncrasies, triumphs and tragedies, 'Cousins', is a personal account, about looking back and growing older, about longing and displacement, spiritual doubt, dedication, and obsession.

Recorded across two years and several studios, the album features contributions from Marla Hansen (Sufjan Stevens, The National) and Eiríkur Orri Ólafsson (Sigur Rós) and was mixed by Chris Coady (Beach house, Future Islands) and mastered by Greg Calbi (Blood on the Tracks, Graceland).

credits

released March 31, 2017

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Snowstar Records Utrecht, Netherlands

Snowstar Records is a Dutch indie-label since 2003.

Artists: Kim Janssen / Herrek / I am Oak / Town of Saints / LUIK / Bart van der Lee / The Secret Love Parade / The Subhuman / Lost Bear / broeder Dieleman / Ian Fisher / The Fire Harvest ... more

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Track Name: Dynasty
I awake from a dream, the room has grown dark
I hear voices and the snapping of fireworks
The doorway is lit up and surrounded by blackwood trees
And the midnight parade, swims around me

The rivers swarm with lights and there are bonfires in the streets
Shots ring in the night and the dynasty
rains down through the sky, in a golden-white, shimmery haze
And the earthquake man stirs and slowly wakes

The bright colors shoot through my blood
I can barely speak or walk

The coral and steel and the mud
The palace lights move through my blood

But mark the roads and silver trees
For they will shift in the night while you sleep
And the mountains will grow, even the lakes slowly will begin to change
And rivers can vanish without a trace

Old pines wander about in the night
Old signs quietly change over time
Old pines wander about in the night
Old signs are quietly changing all the time

The coral trees and the mud
The humid nights move through my blood

The coral and steel and the mud
The bright colors shoot through my blood

The coral and steel and the mud
The warm nights still move through my blood
Track Name: Take Shelter
Golden Adelaide
Fell asleep when we were somewhere above Malaysia
I dreamt about Daniel and the King, there were only three men in the fire I couldn't see the fourth one
Of late, I've been trying grief on like a shirt
I cried in the backseat on the way to Versailles
You know what's coming, but you can't prepare yourself for a famine
If you've never known hunger

Every night I'm kicked off to sea
And the elephants wander through our street

They're saying the ground will tremble soon, I've got some extra shoes and a coat under the bed
I can hear the black bear from the zoo across the street, I think he knows that the wall might be coming down soon
I have everything packed and the dollar bills already folded up and hidden in my underwear
because this silence really terrifies me, I've kept my ear down against the ice cold steel of the tracks

So let the fire pour from the heavens
Let the valley move while we sleep tonight
Send a flood or a storm
I don't think that I can stand waiting anymore

No snakebites or beestings, no broken noses or knees
I always did find it strange, there was never a scratch on me
You can pack up the moon now
and put away the sun
I don't need the stars anymore
you can put out every one
Track Name: Host
Under the lamp outside
I see a host of leaves rising up
They jitter in the night air
And dance around for a while

As though they have a will of their own
And know something that I do not know

And in my mind I'm spinning around on my feet
And swirling like a swarm of killer bees

And between the stars
Lights have shifted in the sky
They're moving around me in the dark

As though they have a will of their own
And know something that I do not know

And in my mind I'm spinning around on my feet
And swirling like a swarm of killer bees

I'm dancing through the yard and never once did I feel
a pull at my hands or a push in my back or a biting at my heels
Track Name: Night-Heron
Every light in the neighbourhood
has been turned off and in the dark
I'm searching for a Burmese camp

The night-herons that I saw, have gone but I can still
hear the sound of their wings and I don't know
if it means anything

I'd been calling the lions
I'd been calling the bulls
they're waiting out in the snow

I'd been calling the lions
I'd been calling the wolves
only I didn't know

Friday night it's snowing out
I watch a story about the landing on the moon
I think something's asleep in the other room

At the Chinese restaurant
they're trying to help the waiter up from his knees
He's covering his ears, I want to know
what it is he can hear

I'd been calling the lions
I'd been calling the bulls
they're waiting out in the snow

I'd been calling the lions
I'd been calling the wolves
only I didn't know

The streets are quiet but every night
silver tusks fall from the sky
and the light-gray birds swirl around the room

I drift home past the icy parks
and the drugstores shining in the dark
the colors so bright they nearly break my heart in two
Track Name: Gouldians
There are feathers red and gold, raining on the lawn
and suddenly I miss everyone

They're carrying the Nazarene and it's snowing in the Middle East
I see the white palm trees in my sleep

I need a jewel fish or a wolf, a Jack Dempsey to confide in
because the ice around me is growing thin

All the greatest say that you will have to let everyone slide
if you want to find that needle's eye


And they're moving overhead, with little golden wings and feathers bright like fire
In the waning light all I'd hid in the ground there, rises to the sky

I put on a shirt and a tie, sometimes when I feel alone
and go to strangers' funerals

All the greatest say that you will have to suffer everyone's wrath
if you want to walk that narrow path

And they're moving overhead, with little golden wings and feathers bright like fire
In the waning light all I'd hid in the ground there, rises to the sky
Track Name: Actor
I move across the tundra through the falling, cotton snow
Lights trained on my face, I can't see who's sitting in the rows

I hear the roar of an applause and I wake up, every night it's the same
I look around the room and I try to remember my own name

I am swimming in the sky trying to reach the hunter and the swan
I am hiding in the wings waiting for my sign to go on

The house is full of guns with cousins from the north staying the night
They race up and down the stairs wearing blankets, pretending they can fly

We pose in front of the mirror and my face seems strange - like it is not my own
I turn off the lights, in the dark we can be anyone

I am swimming in the sky trying to reach the hunter and the swan
I am hiding in the wings waiting for my sign to go on and soft hands to carry me out for the final scene
Track Name: Bottle Rockets
I carry out the chairs
And find the colored lights in the garden shed
There are boxes on the stairs
Full of rockets and dragon eggs

Are you scared to sleep out on the grass by the pool?
Where the spirits move in the water
That you'll wake up and it's already dark
And you're suddenly much older

You hear the kids in the yard
Coming back from the neighbours
You wonder if one day
They will become strangers

The fires rise up from their little hands
And transform in the sky into showers of light
I'll find your hummingbird cake and the blue raspberry jam
We'll fry our brains on a sugar-high

Tie your feet, or you'll shoot off in the night
With the violet balloons
And the mighty wolf blows the candles out
And howls to the moon
Track Name: Cousin
Feeling for ticks in the shower along my shoulder blades and between my toes
Might just be lucky but I find it suspicious that I've never been bit
The rent's always due but my insurance is sorted out, so when I die
put me in a white suit with diamonds in the lining and I'll be carried to the other side

I saw Jesus and the devil but I couldn't tell them apart
I hear a knocking on the door and I want to let the right one in
I think someone might have had my wings clipped in my sleep
Darling wait around a while I am nothing like the man in me

At a birthday party my cousin says that sometimes I'm in her dream
Where she ties me to a chair and sets me on fire, I say, I wonder what it could mean
I'm not a spiritual man
But I can't lay it to rest
I've been awake for days eating fire-ants, wandering alone in the wilderness
I can't feel anything

I saw Jesus and the devil but I couldn't tell them apart
I hear a knocking on the door and I want to let the right one in
I think someone might have had my wings clipped in my sleep
Darling wait around a while I am nothing like the man in me

I was floating overhead
I was hiding out in Rome
I was always underwater with the ruins

The sisters swim around, the planets roll and dive
And wander in the night
And if you wait long enough you will
See them re-emerge and shine like stars

I was floating overhead
I was hiding out in Rome
I was always underwater with the ruins

I was floating overhead
I was somewhere on the moon
I was always underwater with the ruins
Track Name: Rama VI
It's strange looking back
You know, I have never dreamed before
I woke up and the leaves hadn't changed
Every silent stone is sinking in the night
I still haven't aged

You know, I'm like a bee
You know, I still can't sleep
Isn't it strange the way there are stars up in the sky
That have faded away and only appear to shine in the night

I never left at all
I might have imagined all this time, I was somewhere else
With the waters of the sea, I'm rising up over the traffic lights and the streets
And I'm falling from the sky

You know, I'm like a bee (in a hive without a queen)
You know, I still can't sleep (I'm thrown around by the wind)
Isn't it strange the way there are stars up in the sky
That have faded away and only appear to shine in the night

I was waiting for a sign
It's easy to pretend that I never knew how much was at stake
Standing in the aisle of an all-night convenience store
And you know something has gone
That may not ever return