“What was inspirational about punk was that it proved you didn’t need a hall pass into the world of serious culture. You could do anything that anybody else was doing. This Do-It-Yourself ideology is so intuitively right, that you have to be amazed that it took so long to take hold in broad cultural terms. Today we are seeing a dissolution of that ideology, and an abdication of power into the hands of the mainstream, and that is the pity of the whole thing, not that some band is now popular that isn’t stylistically worth it.”
(Steve Albini, 1996)
Formed in Madrid in 2006, The Kiss That Took A Trip is the brainchild of M.D. Trello, who stands as the sole member and admitted factotum. A long-in-the-works musical project that finally saw the light of day when Trello, after an extended period of hesitation, decided to embrace public exposition inspired by the DIY ethos of diverse musical figures such as Steve Albini, Trent Reznor and Godspeed You! Black Emperor.
A late in the game “band”, the founder of The Kiss quotes his admired Brian Eno to state he’s not a musician at all and therefore he will never tour. The Kiss That Took A Trip builds its music, for the most part, using computers and synthetic sounds, but refusing vehemently to be categorized as electronic music. In fact, the music can be tagged as a mix of styles such as post-rock, ambient, experimental, new age and orchestral pop, most of them instrumental and imbued with a progressive feel. The songs resort to melody, atmosphere and a pinch of drone and dissonance instead of technical proficiency or radio-friendly formats.
Since its inception, The Kiss has been regularly putting out self-made releases, with the EP Dating Aphrodite (2008) and the albums Worst Case Scenarios (2009) and The Dummy Family (2011) among them. However, it was with its third album How The Mighty Have Fallen (2012) that The Kiss found an unique voice. Fully produced by Trello, the album bases its sound on long-winded ambient/jazzy suites and unravels with no sense of urgency but employing signature changes, breakdowns, drone sections, distortion and hummed vocals reminiscent of Bark Psychosis. Letting go of the political themes a little, the album has a bitter existentialist vibe this time.
After a two year long gap, The Kiss That Took A Trip returned with Electroforest (2014) and its little brother Electroforest (By Night) (2015), loosening a lot of tension on the listener and making an album that recaptured much of the essential sense of melody found in earlier works, while still keeping the epic scope and adventurous nature of the previous album, coming out of the other side of the tunnel with a "best of both worlds" effort, but with its own internal logic. The record is built in a subtle triptych structure and features the boldest use of vocals found on a work by The Kiss, even to the point of putting them in the forefront or having them from beginning to end, like in standard pop songs.
In the album, as in previous releases, The Kiss leaves a breadcrumb trail of sounds that may lead the listener to The Kiss’ biggest musical influences: Talk Talk, Friends Of Dean Martinez, Penguin Cafe Orchestra, Mogwai, Mike Oldfield, His Name Is Alive, Can, Rush, Barry Adamson or Angelo Badalamenti, only that distortion is turned up a notch or two, placing The Kiss That Took A Trip in a not very crowded musical niche in which progressive music and mainstream appeal meet but don’t clash.
More recently, after reaching its tenth year of existence, The Kiss That Took A Trip put out Happiness In The Presence Of Sadness, a 40-minute digital recording designed mostly to temporarily abandon experimentation (except for the closing track) and celebrate the event in a more radio-friendly way.
2017 saw the release of The Kiss' fifth album Punk Cathedral, an album where spontaneity appears and premeditation is nowhere to be found. The record is nothing more than a collection of 14 songs that mix electronic balladry, acoustic tunes, post-rock, distortion, experimentation, and even brief flirtations with dance music. This different approach works in favour of traditional structures that get all the limelight this time around (Dry swallowed pill, Crapola, Glorious racket, Braggadocio, Queen of the night shift). However, audiences can get their fix of instrumental hymns from the first single (Faulty logic can cost lives) and the opening track (Ambient punk).
The Kiss That Took A Trip is currently quite busy with both the promotion of its brand new EP Garlands (2019) and the recording of its sixth album, planned for the first trimester of 2020. Garlands is a sweet and eclectic release that signals a newfound maturity, and it’s probably the least obscure work The Kiss has ever done.
Regarding ideology, The Kiss That Took A Trip operates on a “pay only if you wish” policy and stands for free music and Creative Commons licensing.
The band has no other aim but to build a consistent and lasting music catalog that can speak to people fed up with quick consumption music and looking for high replay value and a more immersive and personal experience.