Jim “Kimo” West is already a quite frequently featured artist on Flyctory.com. “Kimo” is more and more emancipated from being part of Weird Al Yankovic’s band – this year, he won his first solo Grammy for his recent album More Guitar Stories. On 18th June 2021, he is back with a new album: Ka Hanua Maluhia (Peaceful World) connects to his numerous Hawaiian slack key guitar publications. Here is my review.
Jim “Kimo” West – About The Artist
The 67-year old Jim “Kimo” West is Canadian citizen from Toronto, but nowadays majorly living on Hawaii. If you want to know more about him, I definitely recommend you to have a look at the Spotlight interview I had with him in August 2020. Alternatively, there is some bio in my review of More Guitar Stories in the same month. The album lead to his greatest success as a solo artist so far. It received the Grammy Award as the Best New Age Album.
Jim “Kimo” West – Ka Honua Maluhia – Track by Track
The twelve song album lasts 43 minutes.
Kimo is a nature lover – and the first song is indeed named after a plant. The song Frangipani is exactly what you expect of a song my the talented guitarist. Very atmospheric, extremely well played. The song is taking you on a travel for four minutes. If you finally really think about that flower or very different thoughts, is up to you. But it is great music to simply enjoy.
2. Kipahulu Bound
Kipahulu is a fascinating spot in Hawaii: located on Maui, it neither has water nor electric supply. The only public utility is the phone line. It also includes the site of the grave of Charles Lindbergh. The accentuated high notes on this musical trip to the Southeast place on the island gives a very nice Hawaiian feeling, especially due to the accentuated slack key notes. Lovely tune!
3. Cloud Forest
The third track takes you to the Cloud Forest. A mystical, a bit of frightening atmosphere in this song. Very nice touch due to flute-alike tunes. If you listen to these songs, you just have to see pictures, reach a land of dreams made by his music. I just love that trip.
4. Ke Kai Ola
As far as I got, Ke Kai Ola used to be a mammal sanctuary on the island of Hawai’i. This song impresses me with its floating, simple, but catching chords in the background, paired up with the gentle, fairy-alike high notes in the melody part. A song which makes me relax while listening. Beautiful one.
5. Tradewind Serenade
The Tradewind Serenade feels much more like a light, warm wind in the evening than a strong one. Very gentle song, in which the slack key guitar sounds partially remind me of a harp – which is a really nice touch in my point of view.
6. Hamoa Beach Days
This track plays with different levels, with different scores of the guitar play. Sometimes, one melody line feels familiar – but then it breaks down and another one is starting. Finally, what stays over the whole time of the track is feeling of coziness, of warmth, of feeling comfortable.
7. Limahuli Moonlight
Limahuli is a spot of the North of Kauai, known for a State Park and Garden. While the Hamoa Beach Days felt so multi-layered and complex, this track is extremely condensed. There is practically just one recording line (with very little support here and there). A touch of loneliness
8. The Sleeping Waterfalls
To me, this is one of the most beautiful compositions. It comes in different parts, which beautifully merge into one song. A lot of nice, gentle melodies introduced to a bedding of sounds. Lovely listen.
9. Nalu ‘Olu ‘Olu – The Gentle Waves
These gentle waves are the shortest track on the album. Gentleness is definitely found in this song (again), which comes with a beautiful melody line. Nice listen.
10. Ka Maka ‘lo – Eye of The Hawk
Ka Maka ‘Io is special on this album as it also significantly makes use of strings / violin sounds. This gives a very energetic and powerful touch to this song to me.
This song has in fact already been released in 2019 (and is, as far as I got the only song which was published before the album). A very straight and classic slack sound.
12. Queen’s Lullaby
Indeed, the lullaby at the end of the album is a quiet song, which a nice melody which reminds of a children song. A lovely finish of the album.
Jim “Kimo” West – Ka Honua Maluhia – Spotify
Here is Jim “Kimo” West’s 2021 album on Spotify:
Jim “Kimo” West – Ka Honua Maluhia – My View
Music by Jim “Kimo” West is simply amazing. His songs take you on a trip for a couple of minutes. He is creating dreams, imagination, magic. To me, Ka Honua Maluhia is the best album I ever listened to from him – also because it does this “Take me to another world” thing close to perfection. Grammy Awards, what about another one for this guy in 2022?
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